Garen General Guide by Taran 11
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.
Tanky Burst Damage
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.
Welcome! My summoner name is Taran 11 and this is my first guide on Mobafire, which, if you haven't guessed already, will be covering:
THE MIGHT OF DEMACIA
First off, I would like to give credit to Palthios, the author of the season 2 guide "Spin to Crit Reborn," for getting me into Garen. I love this champion, and I loved Palthios' season 2 guide, which I used (slightly modified) in almost every game I played as Garen last season. However, I am of the opinion that Palthios' S3 guide does not quite take full advantage of S3 Garen itemization. Regardless, I would suggest you also check out his guide, as it is quite excellent. His guide is built more around sustained AA damage via building attack speed, mine is more about burst from abilities by building more AD coupled cooldown reduction, as well as focusing on better survivablity.
A couple notes before we proceed: This is a guide, not a straight build. I implore you to read it in its entirety before you comment or vote up or down. I would also ask you to please leave comments and criticisms explaining your vote so that we can have a reasonable discussion. Simply downvoting without telling me why isn't going to help either of us.
Right then. Let us Begin!
Why Garen? (Pros / Cons)
You don't see Garen played often in tournaments. At least, you didn't in Season 2. This is mostly because he was fairly predictable and counterable (Particularly by Vladimir and Teemo). Due to some significant changes in itemization and masteries, I would be willing to bet we will see a rise in Garen playing.
The single largest reason for an increase in Garen's viability is the new The Black Cleaver. I would almost be willing to bet the sole purpose of its existence is to buff Garen. Garen's Judgment will apply the armor debuff TO EVERY CHAMPION IT HITS. Talk about utility.
Anyway, we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves there, more on that in the Itemization section. So right, why pick Garen? Because you won't necessarily want to every game. Garen is not really an initiator per se, he can do it, he's tanky enough, but it isn't his forte. So if your team needs some hard initiation, pick a champ like Malphite. However, if your team is in serious need of some early game pain and a character who lives off hunting down squishies, Garen is your guy.
-Very powerful early game
-Strong silence basically garen-tees
super strong, risk free harass from Judgment
-Fast, hard to pin down with new masteries
- Courage makes him naturally very tanky,
as well as being a psuedo-Alistair ult on
a short cooldown. Tenacity is always a plus as
-AD ratios are insane. With this build, you'll
be able to Q-E squishies dead while still having
over 150 of each resistance and nearly 4k health.
-Kitable, no insta gap closer
-Poke-heavy opponent limits his
sustain via Perseverance
-Gotta win your lane, or you will
Flash- You must have it. No excuses! Garen is a very predictable champion without it.
Teleport- This one is negotiable. I prefer it because it gives you a map presence. Teleporting to a ward down bottom and suddenly turning an enemy jungle gank into two kills for our carry and one for me is very satisfying.
THE FOLLOWING ARE VIABLE. TAKE INSTEAD OF TELEPORT IF YOU WANT
Ghost- It's fine, and in certain situations is better than Flash, but between Decisive Strike and Mercurial Scimitar you won't really need it.
Ignite- For killing power, especially early game. Thing is, by virtue of Perseverance, you should never have to engage in a fair fight with the enemy. Very few champions can match your sustain, so the extra killing power isn't really necessary in my opinion.
Exhaust- Handy, and if no one else on your team has taken it, go for it, but its better on an AD carry or Support IMO.
Barrier- Trololol Courage/ Barrier towerdive. Very annoying, and hard counters ignite.
Heal- Nice for baiting. I used to run it quite a bit on Garen until I discovered the many uses of Teleport. However, since the S3 change, its better on supports.
If I didn't mention it, it is probably because you obviously shouldn't take it.
Skill Sequence/Abilities Explained
Max Judgment first, Decisive Strike next, and Courage, whilst taking a point in Demacian Justice whenever possible. There is not really any reason to stray from this priority order. It just works.
Perseverance- Took more damage than you should of in that last poke exchange? It's k. hide in a bush for 20 seconds and you are good and healthy again.
Decisive Strike- A single target nuke coupled with a long *** silence. Very handy. Use it to run in, silence, and then spin the enemy's face in without fear of retaliation.
Courage- Beautiful skill that allows Garen to build less resistances than most bruisers while remaining tankier. Activate it when you know you will be taking some damage. Using it to eat a Noxian Guillotine is unbelievably satisfying.
Judgment- My favorite skill in the game, and probably the most recognizable. It also has arguably OP ratios. The damn thing hits like a truck with some AD and Armor Pen. Also, since the Garen remake, it is an entirely viable farming skill. Spin to Win!
Demacian Justice- Your teamates and enemys alike hate the move. Make sure you have a good excuse to use it, or your teammates will whine. Kill SECURE, don't kill STEAL.
9x Greater Mark of Desolation
9x Greater Seal of Armor
9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
3x Greater Quintessence of Health
Very basic AD bruiser runes here. Garen gets a little extra mileage out of the resistance runes due to his Courage, which is nice. I personally prefer the 3x Greater Quintessence of Health for the extra early game survibability, but the Movement Speed and Attack Damage/Armor Pen quintessences are excellent alternatives.
Oh boy, how I love the new defense masteries. I had a little bit of trouble deciding what I wanted in the Defense tree while still picking up the requisite 9 points in Offense. There is some flexibility in that defense build, for example, I would definitely suggest taking a point out of
and putting it into
if your lane partner AND the enemy AD carry are both champions that build crit early and rely on it heavily. (I.E. you are facing Tryndamere top lane and the AD carry is a Phantom Dancer/ Infinity Edge rusher like Vayne.)
Overall, this is a pretty standard AD bruiser build that works excellently on Garen. Of particular note is Legendary Armor , which synergizes beautifully with the bonus resistances on Courage.
Alright, now we get into the really fun stuff. This build costs 16960 gold, which makes it moderately expensive, but not ridiculous. What is important to note is that past the Ninja Tabi on the item sequence, THE ORDER OF THE BUILD IS DICTATED BY ORDER OF NECESSITY. Remember that as we dive in.
Start with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions 90% of the time. Against heavy AD harass like Rengar it may be beneficial to grab a Doran's Shield instead. There is no need to stack Doran's Blade on Garen. Your first item is a big ticket damage item, and this delays it's acquisition.
As soon as you have the gold for it, grab an Avarice Blade and Teleport back to lane. It shouldn't take more than 3 minutes to get the requisite 700 gold, and you won't need your teleport until around the 15 minute mark anyway (if that). This gives you some nice extra income to farm up your Infinity Edge and now eventually builds into an Atma's Impaler.
Rushing an Infinity Edge on Garen is a strategy that was popularized by the aforementioned Palthios. It worked absolutely brilliantly in Season 2. Why? Because the Garenator has two abilities that can crit, most notably each and every tick of Judgment. Very few other champions have even a single ability that can crit. This is why Infinity Edge is so brutally effective on Garen, no single other item in the store will increase your damage output by this much. Palthios believes that getting a The Black Cleaver first is more beneficial in S3, and under certain circumstances (such as fighting an armor-heavy Malphite), that may be true. However, where The Black Cleaver truly shines is in mid-late game teamfights, where you can spin-to-win and knock the entire enemy team's armor to the floor, allowing your AD carry to cut through them with ease. As such, I would still suggest Infinity Edge as your first item in the majority of circumstances.
Next, complete your boots. Most of the time you are going to simply want Ninja Tabi, simply because most top laners are AD and the 10% reduced AA damage is pure gold against carries. With all the extra tenacity from Courage and your masteries, you really don't need the extra tenacity granted by Mercury's Treads. If you really, REALLY need the magic resist, then buy them. As for the enchantment, I typically prefer flat movement speed. It's cheap, and very effective. You can grab the enchantment any time you back with a little (450) surplus gold.
The build becomes very flexible from here. Personally I would suggest buying any TWO basic defensive items that build into later items (i.e Negatron Cloak and Giant's Belt or Chain Vest and Giant's Belt). Typically, you'll want a Giant's Belt for sure, and then whatever resistance you need most. After those two items, fully build a The Black Cleaver, then finish off whatever you've got left.
ITEM CHOICES EXPLAINED
Warmog's Armor- Lots of health and excellent life regen. You'll need the beefiness now that Force of Nature is gone (RIP). Plus, the massive amount of health has great synergy with Atma's Impaler. NOTE that you can take Frozen Mallet instead, but the lack of health regen is a serious issue. More on that later
Atma's Impaler- Should be self-explanatory. You don't really have an option here. It is simply too good to pass up for how cheap it is.
Mercurial Scimitar- Excellent Magic Resist, and a lot lot lot of extra damage. Plus, the QSS active is a great get out of jail free card. Between this, your q, your w, and your flash, you will be extremely hard to control. HOWEVER, if your team is lacking a hard initiator and has sufficient damage, you can go for Spirit Visage for the extra beefiness.
Infinity Edge/ The Black Cleaver- Absolutely non-negotiable. These are core on Garen. HOWEVER, don't stack the damn cleaver like you are Pantheon or something. You'll be less effective, trust me.
OTHER VIABLE CHOICES
Randuin's Omen- Palthios has this as core in his Season 3 buld, and I agree it has its uses, but you have enough armor already after Atma's Impaler and Ninja Tabi. If the enemy team is slippery/has stacked a lot of attack speed, switch out your Warmog's Armor for it.
Frozen Mallet- Sort of. I vastly prefer Warmog's Armor. The health regen and extra 300hp are excellent, and you will barely notice the missing damage. I never thought I'd live to see the day where Frozen Mallet wasn't core on an AD Bruiser, but I truly believe Warmog's Armor is better on Garen.
Force of Nature- RIP. It's removal is the reason Frozen Mallet is no longer an ideal choice. You gotta have that health regen. Your role is that of an unkillable knight who runs away for 20 seconds and magically has all his health back. Can't do that anymore and still have Frozen Mallet.
The stats you see at the top of the page are a bit off, because they do not factor in the passive on Atma's Impaler, the passive on Courage, or Masteries. Full build with Elixers, you will have over 4000 health, 380+ AD, 170 armor, and 145MR. Brutally powerful, almost impossible to control, and very hard to kill. You flat out won't loose duels.
Very straight-forward on Garen. Spin the minions. Profit. No real excuse for being under 100cs by 15 minutes unless the laning phase ended early or you went teleroming for some kills.
Top lane is its own little world. It is typically hard to gank due to the type of champions that run it, and many a time will turn into a slugfest between two immovable objects.
This is NOT what you want to have happen when you are playing Garen.
You are not Nasus. You do not snowball off being a sissy. You are an excellent early game duelist, one of the very best as a matter of fact. As soon as you hit level 2, you need to be Decisive Strike/ Judgment comboing on cooldown. Perseverance means miscalculations are easily forgive by a minute in bushland, so don't be shy! Once you get Courage at level 4, use it strategically to mitigate some damage that will come after your silence ends.
Once you hit level 6, combo your opponent to half health then fall back for your cooldowns to reset. If they don't fall way back, they are hosed. Combo again, wack maybe once or twice, then let the giant golden sword fall from the sky!
Vladimir- ***hat. One of the few in the game that have better sustain than you do, and he is ranged. He is also, however, slow, and your silence will render him useless. Harder than average lane, but doable. 7/10
Darius- Bwahaha! Apparently Knight beats Executioner, because you really shouldn't lose to this twerp. You waaaaaay out sustain him, and you out poke him. Just don't engage for long periods of time during which his Hemorrhage can stack and you will win this lane. 3/10
Malphite- Grr. Remember how I noted before that you DON'T want things to turn into brick wall vs brick wall? If you don't kill Malphite pre-9, that is what is gonna happen. You out poke him and out sustain him, but his passive and tendency to build lots of armor turn this into a very passive lane if you aren't very aggressive early. 4/10
Teemo- He steals your bushes! The shrooms! The blind! This is a hard matchup, and you will really have a bad time against a good Teemo. Do not despair, however, there are a few tricks to dealing with the bastard:
1. Check bushes with Courage constantly to give you your safe haven back. With courage up, you won't take all that much damage from the shrooms.
2. Grab Giant's Belt and Negatron Cloak after your Infinity Edge, and you will notice a drastic drop in shroom pain.
3. Pay attention!! If he uses blinding dart to poke, that is your invitation to jump him so he can't negate your Decisive Strike.
...But seriously this is your hard counter. 9.5/10
More to come! I want to get this guide published and get some feedback, then I'll go to work setting up a full matchups page :)
Teamfights and Your Role in Them
Your job is simple in thought, but in practice can occasionally be more difficult depending on the overall slippery-ness of the enemy team. Your job is NOT to initiate. You wait for someone like Alistar to initiate, then run in and Decisive Strike the enemy AP carry and spin, trying to hit as many people as possible to get your The Black Cleaver stacks up so your AD Carry to melt through everyone.
To reiterate, your job is to burst assassinate the enemy AP carry. You are excellent at this as Garen. Shut them up with your silence, spin them to almost dead, and Demacian Justice them as the silence ends and they try to flash away in vain. It's that simple. And thanks to your massive amount of defense, you will almost always walk away alive.
This is a guide in progress. I look forward to coming back and working on it with your help. I wish you all the best of luck both on and off the Fields of Justice! Have fun Garenating!
Never stop spinning,