Build Guide by Intake

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Intake

Tank Garen - The Correct way to play Garen

Intake Last updated on July 30, 2010
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 1

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 8

Credits to DEWO for his build layout.

This is my first build on Mobafire so here we go :

: Garen is referred to most as a physical DPS/Critmaster. I like to think otherwise. Building him as a tank not only makes him have extreme survivability, but you can still nuke the balls off carries/ non-tanks. With his ultimate, you can easily pile kills and get enough money for all the sunfires in the world.

- Early game hero
- Great(BUGGED) Ultimate - Great for finishing low health enemies.
- Abilities cost nothing
- Good AOE skill in Judgment
- Good tanking ability with Courage
- Great initiator
- Long silence
- Decent chaser
- Good escape mechanism (Judgment = no slows)
- High armor + HP

- Lack of CC
- Slow atack speed
- Cooldown dependent
- Judgment doesn't stop snares/stuns

Summoner Spells:

Great summoner skill early game to get those easy first bloods. It also helps to keep yourself alive and making an enemy vulnerable to your Judgment spinning. The best use of it is in the early game laning phase. Garen is such a early game hero, I almost always get first blood, mostly depending on my lane partner.

Nothing too much to say about ignite other than to use it in conjunction with Exhaust to help you get those early kills. Another great use of it is combining it with Demacian Justice for an easy killing blow.


Another decent choice for Garen. Ghost is especially useful when you're chasing an enemy attempting to finish them with Demacian Justice. Pop ghost and your Decisive Strike and boom you can catch them in no time. Also useful for escaping.

Another alternate. I don't use this too much with Garen but it can be useful for again escaping and landing your ultimate.

The standard for most physical DPS/TANKS. I use it sometimes, but not much being that you have mercury treads.


{Passive} -Perseverance - Garen will regenerate .5% of his maximum health per second after not receiving damage for 7 seconds.

A good early game passive. Can keep you on lane for little bit longer. The regen later on becomes marginal.
I tend to rely on it when i have 50% or more HP. If i go lower i always have my health potions (till about lvl 10)
Dont rely on this when you have 10 HP :) its better and safer to port and heal and run back spamming DS on the way.
This passive probably will get a boost sooner or later.

- Decisive Strike
Garen's next attack strikes a vital area of his foe, dealing bonus damage and silencing them.
Garen gains a 15/20/25/30/35% speed boost for 2 seconds. His next attack deals 40/60/80/100/120 bonus damage and silences his target for 2.5 seconds.

Cooldown - 11/10/9/8/7 seconds
Cost - No Cost
Range - Self

Decisive Strike is tank Garen's bread and butter skill. This skill is perfect to initiate a team fight. The objective is to go in and silence the other teams carry. Decisive strike can be used in many many ways. Use it to last hit minions in the laning phase if the other team is passive. It affects turrents so you can hit them for double the damage. This is usually the starting skill in the combo. Another amazing part of this ability is that it gives you a speed boost when you use it, making it great for escaping or chasing an enemy.

- Courage
Garen's kills increase his armor and magic resistance. He may also activate this ability to give himself a damage reducing shield.
Passive: Garen's armor and magic resist are permanently increased by 0.5 every time he kills an enemy unit. This bonus is maxed at 7/14/21/28/35.

Active: Garen places a defensive shield on himself for the next 2/2.5/3/3.5/4 seconds, decreasing all damage taken by 35%.

Cooldown - 30/27/24/21/18 seconds
Cost - No Cost
Range - Self

This is your get out of sticky situations skill. 35% damage reduction is amazing when you are in a sticky situation. In the laning phase, depending on who you lane against it can be used to take a skill or to take a few turrent hits. A few enemy abilities it could be useful against would be Karthus ultimate, Nidalee spear, Ezreal ultimate, and many many more. It takes time to learn to press it when you're about to get attacked. During mid-late game, it can be used in conjunction with Decisive strike to initiate a team fight.

- Judgment
Garen performs a dance of death with his sword, dealing damage around him and becoming immune to slowing and root effects for 3 seconds.
Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, removing and making him immune to all roots and slows, dealing physical damage (15/35/55/75/95 plus 35% of his attack damage) to enemy units in the area every 0.5 seconds. This ability does half damage to minions, and it can scale off of your critical hit stat to deal bonus damage.

Cooldown - 15/14/13/12/11 seconds
Cost - No Cost
Range - Melee

This is what makes Garen such an early game hero. If you're laning partner has a stun it is almost a guaranteed first blood for your team as long as the enemy isn't a tank.
While Judgment is active, you cannot be slowed/blinded, although you can be stunned/snared. Judgment is also a sort of cleanse to slows.
Use Judgment to farm up creeps/ harass an enemy.
Remember this ability is an AOE skill. Use it in conjunction with Decisive strike to initiate a team fight. Even though you are a tank Garen, Judgment does absolute beast damage to carries despite having no AD items. It can crit, which is another reason why the Atmas Impaler is apart of the build.

- Demacian Justice
Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to deal a finishing blow to an enemy champion that deals damage based upon how much life his target has missing.
Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to attempt to execute an enemy champion, dealing 175/350/525 damage plus 1 damage for every 3.5/3/2.5 health they are missing.

Cooldown - 140/120/100 seconds
Cost - No Cost
Range - 400

Demacian justice is your anti KS/Tank killer/FINISHER as Garen. As of the time I made this guide this skill is extremely bugged. ( It gets canceled by flash/you dying/many other champion skills, all making it go on CD) Demacian justice does damage according to how much HP your enemy has left. It can be a challenge trying to figure this out, but you begin to understand the skill and know what and what not will kill your enemy. Usually a tank with 1/4 HP can be downed, or a Carry with 1/3 of their HP.
It is much better better to get the kill then to waste the skill and let the enemy get away. Never use this skill outside of getting a finishing blow.


1/21/8 Standard tanking masteries with improved Exhaust.


Garen uses a fairly generic tanking rune page. Going with standard flat health Quints, dodge seals, HP/5 Glyphs, and Armor pen marks

Build Clarification:

- Pretty self explanatory, gives you that extra speed boost for that first blood. The three HP potions + your passive really help give you staying power early game. Will turn into your next item.

- Standard boots for tankers. Really helps against a heavy CC team. {90% of games)

If the team has little to no CC

Sunfire capes are pretty much self explanatory. They really help with Garens farming, and also teamfights. If you choose to get the frozen mallet, it allows you to burn your enemies even more.

- Here you have a choice. If you feel like you're not doing enough damage, get atmas impaler. If you feel you're doing fine, grab another sunfire and burn them up even faster.

- These 2 items can be thrown into the build at any time you feel like. Frozen mallet is great because of the health bonus, also because of the slow bonus. It really can help you catch someone and burn them alive. Elixir of fortitude is great end game when you're max level because of the damage/HP boost.

- Caster heavy team build.

Early game

We start with a point in judgment. Start off with boots of speed and 3 HP potions. Coordinate with your lane mate to get into the bushes as fast as possible making for an easy kill. - First blood in matter of 3 secs. Going in a solo lane is possible, but it's fairly hard for garen early game. I recommend you go with a lane partner.
Hide at the end of the bushes. 80% of games at least 1 of the enemy will walk up to the bush(If you get there early) and then all you need to do is Normal Attack --> Exhaust --> Judgment. Boom almost always results in a kill and first blood. After getting first blood, or not.. If you can, jump between caster and melee creeps to do a Judgment and push mobs away while attempting to harass the enemy to keep them back. Use Decisive Strike to harass the enemy. The silence will save you from getting drawback after the easy harass. If you get into trouble, Judgment/Decisive Strike to run away.
You should have a kill every time your exhaust is ready. If you have a lane mate that can stun, you have a much higher chance of winning that lane battle.
Remember to use Courage active as much as possible to lower damage income. Rely on your passive above 50% and on health pots below 50%.
By the time you hit level 6 you can nearly get a kill every time Demacian justice comes off cooldown.
Use Decisive strike to hit towers harder.

Mid game

You should have your boots and maybe a sunfire, at least parts of it. By now little team fights/ganks have begun to arise. Help out as a tank and try focusing on getting as much minion kills as possible while pushing towers. You should be racking in kills by now, but sunfires cost lots of money so we need to keep farming.

Late game

2-3 Sunfires/Atmas impaler... Now you are a true TANKING machine. Being able to take most of your enemy teams DPS. Remember you are a tank. You can initiate the fight. Decisive strike + Courage + Judgment. Finish off with Justice, and chase with DS. Spam Courage on CD.

Hope you enjoyed my first guide.
Please leave a comment for either a +1 or a -1, and most importantly give me suggestions!

And Have fun!