Garen Build Guide by Rasako
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.
Greetings summoners! This is my first attempt at a build guide and I figured I might as well give it a shot with my main Garen. Garen is a very durable DPS champion that can keep up sustain in lane and with the right items put out decent damage and stay alive. I would not recommend this build if you are a tank Garen, because I feel that Garen is not viable as a full tank due to the fact that he has no way of holding enemies onto himself and only one form of CC that he normally uses to initiate, thus making him a good offensive tank and somewhat of a damage sponge. Please note that this build is designed more for Solo Queue PuB stomping and not focused on competitive, high-ELO teamplay. I feel that this build works well when you are solo queueing and you are unsure if you can rely on the skills of your tank, and if you do not have a tank at all, this build should allow you to help carry your team but still soak up plenty of damage in teamfights.
Pros / Cons
Puts out plenty of damage and can also take plenty of damage
Can disrupt and decimate squishies in teamfights or when ganking
Can roam extremely well and punish overextending players
Chases and escapes well with Move speed from Q + items
Has high lane sustain, depending on your lane comp and the enemy lane comp
Can be harassed easily by ranged characters if you are not careful
Is normally focused if you start wrecking the enemy team
Hard to initiate fights with until later on
No ranged damage output
Extremely Susceptible to kiting
I personally use:
Armor Penetration Marks - This helps with early game damage as it will knock 15 armor off of your enemies. helps tremendously in the late game as enemies start getting more armor.
Dodge Seals - I have always used dodge seals and tried changing to health per level seals but I feel that dodge seals allow you to 2v1 and 1v1 much easier, although that's relying on a lot of luck that I do not possess. I find either one will work fine, considering the health per level seals will synergize with Atma's Impaler if you make it that late into the game.
Cooldown Reduction/Level Glyphs - I like CDR/Level instead of Flat CDR because it will scale better in the late game, although either/or works and are interchangeable.
Flat Health Quintessences - Garen can easily be focused by ranged and pushed out of the lane at early levels and his damage output is very weak at level one with this build. These quintessences are a MUST HAVE to help sustain yourself in lane with your passive, and never hesitate to use the brush to your advantage if you need some downtime to regenerate.
Garen's Judgment is not as devastating as it used to be, but it is his only form of AOE and deals more damage over time than his other abilities and the bonus damage can also crit (not ALL of the damage, just the bonus damage)
if you prefer to get an early start on your Courage you can grab it at level 2. This is also an excellent idea if you are being focused/harassed too much in lane and need some damage reduction, but you may not be able to harass back effectively without Decisive Strike, which is also very nice for last hitting due to its amazing scaling with your attack damage.
Pick up Demacian Justice whenever you can, obvious no brainer. Garen's ultimate is much more useful as it levels up because it allows you to execute enemies faster and deals more damage.
For Garen's masteries, I normally run 9/21/0. Most of them are self explanatory, but as for the doubter who would ask, WHY WOULD YOU GET 15% Magic Penetration!?!. Garen's ultimate, to the casual player, has been said many times to be a killstealing tool. however, this is not the case. Garen's ultimate can quickly turn the fight in your favor by executing a champion who is about 1/4 HP at lategame.
Usually you would ult the carry or whoever has the lowest HP. In many cases, though, you will be using your ultimate on the High HP, very tanky champions who need to be taken down at the end of the fight after all the other ultimates have been used up. This allows you to finish off that Cho'gath who's been tearing up your team with his six stacks of feast all game long. 15% magic penetration is a MASSIVE difference on Garen's ultimate, and yes, it deals magic damage. Cooldown reduction is also important since that is your only restraint when using abilities.
Ignite - I use ignite because it gives you that extra bit of damage you will need in the early game and Rank 1 of your ultimate is rather weak. coupling Q > E > R > Ignite (if they aren't dead) is a guaranteed kill on many champions. the heal reduction is also a nice tool to have if you do not have any other teammates with healing reduction.
Flash - Flash is essential to Garen. It will allow you to initiate fights easily, tower dive, get out from under a tower, escape from ganks while farming up your passive bonus from Courage, and can help you chase down annoying enemies such as Nidalee or Kassadin.
Exhaust - Situational, you can pick it up if your team doesn't have an exhaust already or if you prefer it over ignite, either one works.
Ghost - I feel that ghost is a lackluster summoner spell on Garen because with this build you will already have a lot of built in movement speed and Flash serves as a much better "Get In" or "GTFO" spell.
Teleport - If you need this, you're doing it wrong. Garen's passive gives him plenty of lane staying power and boots of swiftness will allow you to roam in combination with the movement speed boost of your Q. However, I could also see this being situational depending on your confidence in your teammates.
Smite - Garen doesn't jungle. Don't EVER take this.
Heal - Loses its effectiveness as the game goes on and other summoner spells easily outperform this one, plus you have a passive that heals you over time.
Clarity - No mana, don't use it.
Revive - Not useful, the whole point of playing the game is not to die and you already have so much survivability that if you are dying the rest of your team is probably getting destroyed as well.
Boots of Speed to start - Movement speed is very important on Garen since all of his abilities require him to be very close to his target. Boots will help you get in and out during lane and will give you that extra spring in your step to get that First Blood. Build them into Boots of Swiftness on your first return to base for this reason. If the enemy team has a lot of CC or is focusing you, buy Mercury's Treads. you will be slower but it will be harder for the enemy to kite/chase you.
Sunfire Cape will be your next item because it synergizes perfectly with your Judgment by dealing extra damage and helping you farm minions for the passive on Courage as well as giving you plenty of survivability in lane.
I buy Last Whisper next in the build for that increased damage output and HUGE armor penetration for mid/late game. I have been considering buying a Youmuu's Ghostblade or at least a Brutalizer instead due to the fact that it would give less damage and far less armor penetration but would give cooldown reduction.
Next grab a Negatron Cloak as soon as possible to stop those nasty casters that are starting to reach their full potential, and begin to build it into Force of Nature. This item synergizes perfectly with your passive and with it you should ALMOST NEVER have to go back to base, and it can even allow you to linger around teamfights after you've used your abilities by hanging back when you get low and waiting on your passive and FoN to heal you up. This also gives your cooldowns some time to recharge.
Phage is next due to the slow on hit, which can be activated by Decisive Strike. The damage and health are also perfect additions to your arsenal. build Phage into a Frozen Mallet because it is an upgrade and a perfect item for you to have, plus the GUARANTEED slow is extremely nice with your Q>E>W combo. Randuin's Omen could also be used to replace Frozen Mallet if you prefer the slow on hit and need the extra armor.
Atma's Impaler is an item that you may not get often in your build and is reserved mainly for the very late game, but once you get it that armor and critical chance will have your Judgment dealing plenty of damage.
When in a 1V1 scenario, always start with Q and then E the moment Q lands. use W after the silence wears off and the enemy starts using his abilities on you.
NEVER 2V1 out in the jungle or any open area that is not a lane with a turret nearby. if something goes wrong or you just get harassed too hard, you need a safe haven to fall back to. 2V1 is mainly going to occur in the laning phase when you have a jungler and you have a slight XP advantage on the enemy (I.E. Solo top). you need to stay near enough to the minions to grab experience and last hit when you can without putting yourself too much at risk. the enemy lane combo also makes this easier or harder to pull off. your Q will hit for massive damage at early levels and should be used to harass. enemies cannot harass you well unless they are a ranged champion due to the silence effect of Q. This WILL draw minion aggro though and you need to be aware of this and back out immediately after Q lands to save yourself from minion damage. your E can also be used if they are melee champions trying to last hit or push the lane and it WILL NOT draw minion aggro because it is an AOE ability. if you can harass effectively you can pick up kills early game and although you may not get both of them you can easily get one of them and escape from the other without even needing to use flash. All it really comes down to is the enemy team combo you are laning against.
For teamfights, if you do not have a tank on your team you can initiate with flash. you should wait for the opportune moment and flash onto their healer or whoever has the most threatening CC ability and use your Q to silence them, pop your W to reduce damage, and then E to spin and deal massive damage to their team and cause them to panic. once their best CC is countered and the squishies burned down you can use your ult to help finish off their tank, if you didn't have to use it to pick up a kill on an escaping squishy, which will happen once in awhile.
As stated above about harassment, laning can be rough or rather easy depending on your enemy. just try to zone out the enemy and stay out of reach of their abilities, but stay close enough to where if they make a false move or come too close you can viciously punish them with your Q and E without any fear of a reprisal due to the silence effect on Q.
USING YOUR ULTIMATE
Don't be the Garen that runs around using his ultimate when the target has 10 HP and you haven't even touched him while your team chases him down. Stealing kills from your carry is NEVER acceptable, however, there is a fine line between killstealing and preventing an enemy from escaping. Garen's ultimate requires quick thinking and good judgment. You need to know when to use it and who to use it on to gain its maximum effectiveness for your team. Ulting the Vayne with 10 HP in a teamfight over the Cho'gath at 30% is not an intelligent move. timing your ultimate right can also assist in a kill for your team by using it a little sooner than you should for getting a kill, but you should never use it until the enemy is under at least 50%.
Thank you for checking out my guide! As I said before, this is my first guide and I am accepting of constructive criticism and would love feedback. I am still learning and trying new things every day and could always use some help from peers. If you feel that something needs to be added let me know. Please leave a comment below and vote on my build!
In light of recent buffs and my own experimentation I am adding a second build for more damage output and less survivability.
The order of the items can shift around and the boots can change depending on the enemy team comp and also the number of doran's blades you buy is entirely up to you, I would suggest 2 to abuse garen's insane early damage and Q scaling.