Garen Build Guide by DeOnde
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PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.
Not Updated For Current Season
Spinning Right Round
Suggested Build Order
The Health-Stacker Build
Not Updated For Current Season
Who Are you DeOnde? And why should i trust you?
Hello, fellow summoners this is my first guide here on Mobafire, my summoner name is "DeOnde" (http://www.lolking.net/summoner/br/1993280#profile) and my main account is in the brazilian server (Silver division III at the moment) , but i also have a NA account i rarely ever play. I started playing league at the Vi patch and i feel i have improved quite a lot since that time, and with those improved skills i hope to bring you an informative (maybe fun if possible) League of Legends champion guide.
English is not my primary language so if you find any mistakes talk to me so i can fix them.
Any constructive criticism is welcome, we want your opinions
Hello fellow summoners, be welcome, to Mobafire's newest Garen guide!, Garen was the first champion i played in League Of Legends, the first one I bought and also the first champion i had fun playing playing as. All those things "forced" me to make this Garen build guide, hope you guys enjoy and have fun playing as one of my favorite champions the way i like to play him. And remember, Spin To Win!.
This brief section is made for beginners who might not understand some of the LoL terms. It's spoiled since it's not necessary for the guide's readability. If you already understand LoL terms, skip this section
Garen In A Nutshell
| Garen is fighter, bruiser and anti-carry who can deal high damage while also taking heavy ammounts of punishment; some also consider Garen a tanky assassin, because of his ultimate Demacian Justice. He is mostly played in the top-lane, where he excels at having early dominance and snowballing into an unkillable spinning machine. His most famous skill Judgment deals high ammounts of damage in an area around him and can critically strike, it is good for dealing single-target DPS, waveclearing AND teamfighting (something not to like about it?). His Decisive Strike makes him stick to your carries as if he was glued to them, and the silence is the icing on the cake. He is a very fun character to play and, contrary to popular belief, he is VERY viable in ranked (against certain matchups, just as anyone else).
Thanks to jhoijhoi for the template which you can find here
Garen Champion Spotlight
Pros / Cons
Doesn't use mana, only limited by cooldowns
High early game damage
Amazing Farming with Judgment
If fed, becomes unstoppable
Practically immune to slows
Demacian Justice is a great Execution move and JUSTICE!
Very Cheap (450 IP only, Accecible to almost everyone)
Easy to play and not so difficult to master
A Very handy silence and movement speed boost with Decisive Strike
Has an Aragorn skin
No Escape Ability Or Gap Closer
Damage Falls Off Late Game
No Hard CC, but for a silence
No matter how well you do as Garen, your enemies will refuse to admit you're skilled and will always keep saying Garen is an "easy champ" ,"ridiculous" or "pressEgetwins" (teach them a lesson for the rest of their lives).
Can be hard-countered
Might not fit every team composition
While Playing Garen it is very important to notice you shouldn't be the team's biggest source of physical damage (this one should be your AD carry, like Twitch or Draven) and this will heavily influence in your itemization, but you will still be a serious issue if let untouched by the enemy team.
They will be forced to focus you since you are a major source of damage and becaused your job is to be focused you may find 2 situations:
1 - They focus you, it's allright since you are tanky and you will be soaking the damage while your AD and AP carries do the damage job.
2 - They focus someone else, this is a funny situation. The ammounts of damage you can deal with this build in a scenerio like this one is redonkulous (insert HotshotGG reference here), your Armor shred from The Black Cleaver added to the Crit Chance on your Decisive Strike and Judgment will make the enemies regret letting you spin freely around the battlefield.
"Tankiness comes before damage"
"Protect Your Carries"
"The Bushes Are your friends"
"Spin to Win"
Runes and Masteries
Greater Mark of Lethality
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
- greater mark of armor penetration are took to boost our damage output, especially late-game and to neglect some of the enemies armor.
- Greater Seal of Armor are great, the armor it provides will greatly reduce the damage you take in the early game, both from champions and minions. Also synergises well with Courage
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist are my choice because it gives magic resistance when you need it the most, mid to late game. Flat MR glyphs can also be used.
- Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage is my favorite on Garen, it makes you early game damage output very high and last-hitting becomes very easy.
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed is also very viable since movement speed scales very well into any stage of the game. Taking these allows you to delay the purchase of Boots of Speed.
I run a 9-21-0 mastery page on Garen, following the Offensive mastery page until Weapon Expertise for the armor penetration, then go deep into the defensive tree until Honor Guard (such a nice mastery); do not pick Legendary Armor , there is nothing of legendary in it, 5 armor per 100 you build is simply too low to waste a mastery point into. Juggernaut works explendidlly with Warmog's Armor and Atma's Impaler for the ultimate Health-Stacking meta. We take Tenacious and Relentless because i hate being CC'ed.
21-9-0 is an Offensive mastery setup i wouldn't recommend, unless you are filling a damage-dealing role (mostly when there is already a dedicated tank in your team). Executioner has great synergy with Demacian Justice and their combination is enough to make any low-health target fear you. Notice how i pick Lethality for stronger critical strikes but don't get Frenzy, since you don't need attack speed. I get points into Fury instead of Sorcery because you will already have 40% CDR from items.
- Perseverance (Passive) - After 9 seconds of not taking damage from any source of than minions, you gain massive health regen.
This is your passive, Perseverance, it is not as strong as it used to be but it stills offers your great lane sustain and late game, all you need to do is wait for you passive and your Warmog's Armor do their job. This passive is even stronger than Dr. Mundo's Adrenaline Rush but it has a disavantage, if you recieve damage from any source other than minions this bonus will be disactivated for the next 9 seconds, this is the reason Garen struggles against champions with high poke and harassment tools.
- Decisive Strike (Q) - Empowers your next auto-attack, dealing bonus damage and silencing the target, resets your AA timer. Also gives a movespeed boost and removes slows on activation. The empowered auto and movespeed are completely independent.
A great ability, usually the first skill you will get. This skill gives you a movement speed boost, empowers your next basic attack dealing bonus damage and silencing the target. It is important to note that the empowered attack and the movement speed boost are completely independent (Using the empowered AA will not finish the movespeed boost). The activation of this skill removes slows. This skill may critically strike.
Spend your first skill point into this one, but max it second
- Courage (W) - Passively gives increased resistances. It's active reduces the damage received and the duration of CC effects.
Has both a passive and an active effect, passively it increases your bonus armor and mr by 10%(this might sound OP, but it makes your armor yellows and mr/l blues 10% more effective :D). The active works like a mini- Unbreakable Will, decreasing the damage you take and reducing the duration of crowd control effects over you. This skill is what gives you incredible tankiness.
Pick an early point into it but max it last
- Judgment (E) - You spin around your own axis, dealing high physical damage in an AoE. Your main source of damage.
Your signature ability and probably one of the most well-known LoL abilities. Gives you amazing damage and wave-clearing potential. This skill gives you both great single-target and AoE damage. This skill may critically strike. This skill is not a channeled ability (you won't stop spinning even if you are stunned, knocked up or turned into a cupcake by Lulu).
Get a point in this skill at level 2 and max it by level 9
- Demacian Justice (R - Ultimate) - Deals high single-target magic damage that scales off your enemies' missing health. Has a long cooldown, specially early game.
Your ultimate, the giant skyblade. Great for finishing low-health targets, but is on a pretty long cooldown, it is very powerful at first and keeps it's power as the game goes on (synergises amazingly with Executioner if you wish to go 21/9/0). This skill does magic damage and is great for getting kills (do not take kills from your allies, it is just wrong).
Pick a point in this whenever possible (levels 6,11 and 16)
Exhaust is a great summoner to have on Garen since he has no natural CC other than his silence, this will also add a lot of utility to you through the game. Using Exhaust on a carry late-game will severely cripple his damage output and may win you a teamfight. Helps both agressive and defensive playstyle.
Teleport has it's advantages, it is a great spell both for split-pushing and protecting your own turrets, it also gives you a great map pression. It also works very well to gank bot or mid lane without your oponents expecting. You can use it to get back to lane faster too.
Ignite is great for finishing low-health enemies, getting some early kills and countering high life-steal (like Aatrox or Warwick), Spell Vamp (like Vladimir) or high health regeneration and heals (like Dr. Mundo or Soraka), it is always important to have one of those on your team so you won't be vulnerable to those champions (the mid-laner tends to take this but there is no problem to take it too). Encourages agressive gameplay.
There is a big misconcept people make is thinking there is always a "perfect" build that would fit any situation, this is NEVER true. Itemization is one of the most important aspects in LoL and this chapter will discuss this issue.
The first items you go to lane with are very important and will influence the whole outcome of the laning phase. So, choosing them wisely is a MUST.
#1 Option: "Boots + 4 pots" x4
Boots of speed and three potions used to be the "universal start" in season 2, but then lost it's effectiveness in season three with the nerf to boots. The recent price reduction on BoS made this viable again, if you wish some extra movespeed against enemies with skillshots or simply want some more mobility, go this way.
#2 Option: "Full sustain Garen" x5 sight ward
You guys might not know it yet (since this is my first guide) but i do love things that "combo", and this starting items combo perfectly with Perseverance, since you can no longer have more than 5 potions at a time (Rest in Peace 9 health potions start) this is the highest sustain you can achieve with garen.
#3 Option: "Cloth5" x5
A very common start on top-laners, will make you beefier against physhical damage and have good trading potential and power to soak up some AD harrassment (one of Garen's biggest problems). You can replace some pots for a ward if you think their jungler might try something.
#4 Option "Doran's"
Doran's shield became much more viable since it's price reduction and the possibility to take a potion alongside it. It brings everything we would want in the early game such as health and regen, while still giving a passive with great synergy with Block , helping a lot against champions that keep harrassing with AAs in the laning phase, such as Kennen, Nidalee or even Gangplank, since the damage reduction applies on Parrrley.
#5 Option: "I'd like some blood with that" x3
If you wish to go full-manmode on early levels this is still a valid start. Garen has very high damage at the early game, and this might set you ahead and snowball the lane. Only recmmended if you wish to go agressive early or baiting your enemies.
The Black Cleaver
Boots of Swiftness are the good stuff. Makes you run very fast, and a fast Garen is a strong Garen.
The Black Cleaver has Garen written ALL OVER IT. AD, CDR, ArP and health? that's SO Garen.
Sunfire Cape always had a space in most Garen's inventory, and with a reason. Armor, Health and Magic AoE damage are just too much for your enemy top-laner to keep up.
Randuin's Omen solves a lot of Garen's problems, it's active let's you slow an entire team and it scales off RESISTANCES! ( Courage me gusta). It also helps with one of Garen's biggest issues, getting kited. Slows people who attack you? better work on that kite Ashe, because you ain't stopping this Garen.
Spirit Visage is perfect to say the least. Mr, CDR, Health and a HUGE boost to your Perseverance life regen? man, that's broken...
Guardian Angel will make your enemies surrender, giving such a hard-to-kill champion like Garen a second life is too much for them.
Boots of Swiftness are my favourite on Garen since it allows you to outrun pretty much anyone and keep the pressure on
The Black Cleaver fits Garen in every aspect of it, armor shred + AD and health are too good for only one item, also gives you some CDR (which is great). You can apply this item's stacks in an AoE during a teamfight with Judgment
Infinity Edge greatly boosts your damage output and will synergise perfectly with the fact that your Decisive Strike and Judgment can critically strike
Warmog's Armor is also a very good item, the high ammount of health and the regen passive will get your survivability to the next level
Frozen Mallet will give you a slow for each autoattack, AD, and a huge ammount of health.
Atma's Impaler gives AD based on your maximum health, armor and critical strike chance; compliments your damage output while also giving you tankiness.
Mercury's Treads is great , pick it when dealing with high CC or magic damage
Ninja Tabi gives a very good passive, should be taken against teams with a fed AD
Resistances (Both Armor and MR) are very strong on Garen since they get 10% stronger because of the Courage passive
Randuin's Omen is a sweet item, gives a chunk of health, armor, cold steel and an AMAZING active
Sunfire Cape is a very famous item on Garen and it deserves this position, will give you health, armor and a magic damage passive that will combo (combos FTW) with Judgment for blazing hurricanes.
Thornmail works wonders against a fed ADC, will help countering some annoying champions such as a fed Tryndamere or Master Yi
Guardian Angel will make you live again, simply great. Also gives some armor and MR to make you harder to kill. an item like this on someone so hard to kill like Garen will depress your enemies
Spirit Visage builds out of Spectre's Cowl and will make your passive even more powerful, while also granting health, MR and CDR, a very good item at the moment.
Locket of the Iron Solari now builds out of Aegis of the Legion, which is great. it's still a great item even if it doens't give that much team MR. it compensates in great ammounts of armor, regen, mr, CDR, health,team-shield and a team-boosting passive
Hexdrinker will make it harder for magic-damage dealers to burst you down, while giving some good physical damage. Should only be upgraded into Maw of Malmortius by late game.
Quicksilver Sash gives MR and a unique active, basically a free Cleanse (but better)
Banshee's Veil is now a much better item on Garen, gives health, mr, and a spellshield
(good against high-priority skillshots, such as Rocket Grab and Javelin Toss)
If you start getting ahead of your enemies there is no problem in making this gap even bigger by building some offensive items such as:
Youmuu's Ghostblade gives you some armor pen, AD and crit chance, as if this wasn't enough also gives an active that will turn you into a DPS monster and increase even more your chase
Last Whisper, allright, they are so afraid of you they KEEP stacking armor and you feel like you're dealing no damage? fear not, last whisper is coming.
Maw of Malmortius gives high ammounts of AD that goes up as your health goes down, the late-game upgrade of Hexdrinker is really good since it also gives MR and a nice shield passsive.
The Bloodthirster gives the highest ammount of AD in the game, and the stacks are very easy to get because of Judgment and very easy to keep because of your tankiness
Ravenous Hydra is a controversial item on Garen, some say it doesn't fit him, but i disagree, you can use the active during Judgment for some good burst, it will also allow you to lifesteal in an AoE, while also packing the game's highest base AD and some regen(no one remenbers the health regen of Tiamat) and the ability to splitpush and ridiculous sustain, great business
The 40% CDRen (Made that name myself, sounds good?) is a little something i accidentaly created during a normal game with my friends, and it turned out great! so, i immediatly brought it to you guys. It makes you able to spam your Decisive Strike for great mobility and silence, allows you to Spin more often AAAAND the aspect that dropped my jaw (not sure if this expression exists in english) is that, when maxed and with 40% CDR your Demacian Justice is on a 48 SECONDS COOLDOWN (how great is that?) less than a minute between executions!
I was against a Lee Sin in the top lane, so i went Ninja Tabi that game since they also had a very strong Twitch. Mercury's Treads and Boots of Swiftness are also viable;
The Black Cleaver is awesome for already-specified motifs, also contributes with 10% CDR. I felt like rushing a Sunfire Cape, which helped with my damage and waveclearing, BLAZING HURRICANES!
Spirit Visage is incredibly powerful right now, gives high MR, Health, 20% CDR and THAT passive. Sweet item.
Locket of the Iron Solari is the icing on the cake, magic resist and life regen for the whole team + amazing active and 10% CDR? i'll take it!
The last item is up to you, i built a Thornmail to make their Twitch cry, but a Guardian Angel can work just as well. Also drink some elixirs since by now you should be swimming in money.
Top-Lane Matchups [Under Construction] A-J
Difficulty: Medium - Easy
Recommended Summoner Spell: Ignite
Difficulty: Easy(Pre-6) - Medium (Post-6)
Medium - High
recommended start: Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion
Recommended Summoner Spell: Ignite
Difficulty: Nightmare (Counter)
Difficulty: Medium - Easy
Difficulty: Easy - Medium (if skilled)
Difficulty: Medium - Hard
Teamfights / Team Synergies
Garen is an extreme bully in teamfights, he can dive right through the enemy front lines straight to the enemy damage dealers. He can peel decently with Decisive Strike and Courage allows you to take all the damage needed.
During a teamfight, a correct use of Judgment will be decisive, since it applies stacks of The Black Cleaver, you will damage them while dropping their defenses, allowing any other AD champions of your team smile of happiness.
The late-game teamfights are the moments you will become an anti-carry, you can initiate and silence them for a high duration (2,5 seconds) and spin, they will be left with 3 options: Run away from you, which will give your team an advantage. Have you CC'd, which is reduced by Courage and will make them "waste" their time on you. Or tank your damage, which can be fatal, considering the follow-up Demacian Justice and the typical squishyness carries tend to build.
Now, just as important as knowing how to behave in a teamfight is to have strong teammates, since LoL is a teamwork-centered game, those are necessary if you wish to achieve a "Victory" screen in the fields of justice.
Champions that work well with Garen :
Blitzcrank : If he can land those Rocket Grabs, it's a "Garen"-teed kill, he can keep them in place with Power Fist and the succession of silences of Static Field and Decisive Strike is too much for them.
Lux : Riot is a funny company, the way these two siblings work so well together can only be meant to be. Garen has no hard CC of his own, which Lux complements with her Light Binding, and during this time Garen can severely punish them with Decisive Strike and Judgment, followed by a Demacian Justice. If they somehow escape, all Lux needs to do is kamehameha the fleeing enemy with Final Spark. The Demacian Siblings are unbeatable.
Jarvan IV : Your childhood friend demacian prince is a great adition to your team, his E + Q combo can knock up your enemies and his Cataclysm means they will either have to Flash the wall (which you can deny with your silence) or take the full damage from Judgment. His Dragon Strike also decreases the enemy armor :P.
Leona : She is one of the most famous agressive supports out there for a reason, she has 3 crowd control skills and you can easily proc her passive Sunlight with the multiple stances of Judgment damage. Her initiation is godlike, and your follow-up makes it worth, Leona and Garen are a deadly combination.
Morgana : She is the "dark Lux", and can work as well as her shiny counterpart, her snare lasts "forever", she has the game's most OP anti-CC shield, she has the ability to root the whole enemy team with her ultimate and the fact her Tormented Soil eats their magic resistance greatly boosts Demacian Justice's damage.
Taric : Their synergy is truly outrageous, he can heal, stun and shred their armor, there is nothing not to like about Taric. He is also completely fabulous.
Zed : Do you want a dead enemy carry? have this guy on your team, while you silence and spin them to death, Zed can use his Death Mark to completely obliterate them, these two are the nightmare of any carry.
Champions that do not work well with Garen :
Ezreal : This lesbian girl says bad things about your sister in public, has no CC and has no synergy with Garen anyhow.
If you truly wish to learn how to play the Might of Demacia you need to watch and learn all the knowledge contained in those videos:
OBS: I do not own any of those videos, they belong to their respective owners
tl ; dr
A Quick Overview of Garen:
Thanks to jhoijhoi and PsiGuard for the template which you can find here
Special Thanks, Coming Soons, To Dos and Changelog
- To Riot Games for creating League of Legends and Garen
- To Mobafire for giving me the opportunity to share this guide
- To jhoijhoi for her awesome Guide for making guides and also her other amazing guides
- To all the other Garen guide authors here on mobafire who helped me improve my Garen gameplay.
- To Wongstar for his support and for showing me how to make these sexay banners
I'm currently working on a Karma guide (she is also one of my favorite characters), since there are very few complete, season 3, post-remake Karma guide here on Mobafire (that makes me kinda sad T_T). I have to admit that my motivations for buying Karma where very far from noble (yes, i bought her because of the free skin, shame on me), but if there is something i do not regret in my LoL life, this thing was buying Karma. So, be prepared for the most new guide to the Supportive Mage Karma coming soon in your closest Internet access!
- DeOnde's guide to Tristana
- There is no escaping Karma
- Gangplank (Secret Guide)
This guide will be constantly updating, if you have any impressions about this guide or wish to help improve it through good criticism, your opinion would be greatly appreciated. Please comment and don't downvote for no reason (as said before, if you have any ideas on how to make this guide better they will gladly be accepted).
To Do List:
Rework Runes & Masteries section
- Complete the "Top-Lane Matchups" section
- Rework the "Items" section
Add Skill Tips
- Add Video footage
August 17th 2013 (My Birthday!) (current patch: 3.10): Guide released!
August 18th 2013 (current patch: 3.10): Removed the troll "Mageren" guide, so it wouldn't cause confusion or players who could think it's a real build. Also corrected some grammar issues.
August 26th 2013 (current patch 3.10a): Became the 10th Garen guide on MOBAFIRE!; added the "New 40% CDRen" Build and fixed some grammar issues. Also added the "LoL Glossary" section. Studying changes on the core build.
August 28th 2013 (current patch 3.10a): Changed the Core build, transitioned the old "Core" into the "Health-stacker's build". Updates on the abilities section. Added 2 chapters: "Garen in a Nutshell" and "tl;dr". Visual changes all over the place!
August 30th 2013 (current patch 3.10a): Visually updated the matchups section, Added Irelia to the top-lane matchups. Removed Ionian Boots of Lucidity from the boots options after seeing how much more useful the other options were.
September 7th (Brazil's Independence Day!) (current patch 3.11): Garen is getting a visual upgrade! THANKS RIOT!!! (please re-add the giant sword). Added Elise to the top-lane matchups, also added recommended summoner spells for certain matchups. Added "Suggested Build Order"
September 10th (current patch 3.11): Summoner Spells and Runes section reworked.
September 15th (current patch 3.11): Added "To Do" list and "Rainbow penetration" build
October 1th (current patch 3.12): Garen visual upgrade! Added Jarvan IV, Jax and Jayce to the top-lane matchups. Added the "Critren" Build, removed the "Rainbow Penetration" build. Added two more starting options "Doran's Shield + HP" and "Elixir + 3 HPs". Added skill tips and made minor grammar corrections. Added Ability gifs!
October 2th (current patch 3.12): Added Garen to the top-lane matchups (how could i forget him?), Also added sexay banners (thx Wongstar) and "Teamfighting / Team Synergy Section"