Garen Build Guide by skizzo316

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 skizzo316

S3 Garen - The Unstoppable Force

skizzo316 Last updated on August 8, 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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Garen is a fighter champ, but can be EXTREMELY tanky and hard to kill if built correctly. His ultimate is also ridiculously strong for 1v1 and team fights. He does not use mana or energy, so his abilities can be used whenever they come off CD. This makes playing as Garen very easy for someone new to the game.

If you like fighting as a melee champ that can be very strong throughout the game, Garen is definitely someone you'll want to try.

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Garen's Patch Updates

Not too long ago, Garen was nerfed a little bit (Patch 3.03). However, these nerfs have not, in my opinion, hurt Garen that badly.

Perseverance - Heal amount reduced to 0.4% of maximum Health per second from 0.5%

Decisive Strike - Fixed a bug where the cast time was faster than intended

Courage - Passive adjusted to now increase bonus Armor and Magic Resist (from items, runes
or masteries) by 20% instead of total Armor and Magic Resist by 20%

Demacian Justice - Fixed a bug where the cast time was faster than intended

As you can see, Garen was a little bit stronger. However, these changes are minor and do not affect the overall effectiveness of his kit.

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Build Updates!

This section will list all changes to the build. Click here to go directly to the items area.

  • Avarice Blade - Removed from build; it is gold efficient through its passive after 16 minutes, 40 seconds. Pure and simple, the gold is better spent elsewhere that early in the game.
  • Youmuu's Ghostblade - Removed from build; this item's active is best used on a champ with higher auto attack speed. The Black Cleaver is much better than this item, which means you can focus on a different piece of equipment.

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Pros / Cons

+ Awesome passive Perseverance
+ Tanky
+ Q is very strong early game
+ Built-in tenacity
+ Good team fight damage
+ Ultimate is very strong
+ Both passive and active damage reduction
- Slow auto attack
- Can be out-farmed early
- Can be kited

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Masteries + Runes


Here, we go with Sorcery instead of Fury because Garen's abilities are free to use. He is better improved with lower CD than higher attack speed. You'll end up doing more dps by lower CDs than you would by having his auto attacks hit more often.

Garen's ability to remove slows using Decisive Strike makes picking up Tenacious better than Relentless


Greater Mark of Armor Penetration

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Greater Mark of Armor Penetration - We go with these to make the biggest impact on the tankiest of toons. Laning at top usually means you're going to be 1v1 against another HP/Armor heavy champ. Ensuring you have a lot of Armor Pen early will help win trades more than attack damage.

Greater Seal of Armor - This is a no-brainer. More armor on Garen means less damage from AD champs. The less damage you take, the better off you'll be.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist - Same concept as armor runes, this will help you take less damage from AP champs. Garen will sometimes find himself laning against an AP champ to start the game, but when laning ends and you start team fights, it's nice to know you're already setup for damage reduction.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage - These help especially in the early game ensuring that Garen has some extra punch in his attacks. Most of the items you'll be building won't have much, if any, AD, so these are a must have.

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Summoner Spells

Flash is a must have for any solo laner. This will allow you those precious escapes when being chased and ganks when you are the aggressor.

Ignite is the second best summoner spell for Garen. If you're fighting someone with high mobility and they're almost dead, assuming you can't hit your ultimate (or you already did and they're still somehow alive), this will seal the deal.

Exhaust should be what you take if you're not going to take Ignite. This will ensure that your target cannot run away as quickly before you hit them with another Decisive Strike, Judgment, Demacian Justice combo.

Ghost is a summoner spell that can be used by new players to the game, as it is one of the first summoner spells to which you have access. However, if you have Ignite, Flash or Exhaust, this should not be chosen.

In my opinion, there are no other summoner spells viable for a proper Garen build.

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These are the best items I have found to be used with Garen. The first four are the standard build every time I play him, with minor exceptions ( Mercury's Treads instead of Ninja Tabi on occasion). Depending on what is going on during team fights, I will change up my situational item.

Warmog's Armor is an item best suited to Garen. It adds a ton of health and additional regen which makes Garen a regeneration machine.

Sunfire Cape increases Garen's health, provides more armor and gives him a passive to offset the amount of AD he is lacking. Anytime Garen is near an enemy, they'll automatically take magic damage.

Ninja Tabi gives Garen the movement speed he needs and provides more armor. This is one of the core items that you may want to switch depending on the enemy team's makeup.

With the changes to Spirit Visage, this item is even more suited for Garen than ever before. More health, more magic resist, more health regen and an improvement to self-regen effects make this a must have. BTW, the passive on this item does affect the item itself!

Armor and magic resist plus a new chance at life, Guardian Angel gives Garen a ridiculous chance at surviving even the most horrifying odds. This item is typically my go-to situational item in the late game if I want to ensure I can help my team's final push to victory.

Randuin's Omen, in my opinion, is better for Garen than Frozen Mallet would be. The difference in health is made up by both the passive and active on the item. Garen is going to be attacked regularly and will be within range often enough to utilize the active whenever off CD. Additionally, Frozen Mallet does not slow attack, only movement.

For attack, health and on-hit effects, there simply is no better item for Garen than The Black Cleaver. Since most of your early items will be defensive, this is a solid purchase mid to late game. Additionally, since the armor penetration stacks on-hit, Garen's Judgment becomes very scary for any enemy champ.

Locket of the Iron Solari is great if your support doesn't already have it and you want to bring that additional regen and shielding for your team during team fights. However, if your support is building toward it, let them. Your time can be better spent on a different item.

As I've explained, Mercury's Treads are only to be purchased when facing a heavy AP team. The enchant on the boots doesn't change and you should still get Enchantment: Furor. You should know during the loading screen whether you'll be going with Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads.

Infinity Edge is an item which I rarely see on Garen, but when it is built, he has a high win percentage. This is certainly something you'd build late game and not necessarily something I would rush. However, the increased damage and crit severity on this item make it a good purchase, nonetheless.

Atma's Impaler provides some additional armor and crit chance with attack damage that scales with your maximum health. This item gives you slightly less attack damage and crit than Infinity Edge, but it provides additional armor and costs 1500 less. With this build, Atma's Impaler will give you an additional 63 attack damage with the armor and crit.

Last Whisper is again one of those items that you can buy to make your game stronger without breaking the bank. Costing only 2300, it provides some much needed attack damage and armor penetration for team fights and going up against a tanky opponent. The definite positive on this item is the passive; the armor penetration here is BEFORE your runes and masteries take effect. This means that this provides more armor penetration the more armor your enemies buy.

Maw of Malmortius is an interesting item for Garen. This is both offensive AND defensive in nature. The attack damage is fantastic and it provides some much needed magic resist. This item also gets stronger the more dangerous it gets for Garen, since the less health you have translates to even more attack damage. An interesting item, to say the least. I wouldn't be surprised to see this on more Garen builds in the future.

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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 always start with Decisive Strike. Not only does it improve your running speed, it silences your target which will allow you to engage with your Judgment immediately to do more damage without retaliation, other than auto attacks. Courage should be used when the fight lasts longer than a few seconds or if you need to disengage, at which point you will use Decisive Strike again and run away.

When your enemy is at or below 20% health, use Demacian Justice. If it doesn't immediately kill them, another Decisive Strike or Judgment will.

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Coming Soon.

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