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Garen Build Guide by Twist21

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[10.24] How to climb as Garen in Season 11 [In-Depth]

By Twist21 | Updated on December 1, 2020
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Runes: Standard Runes

1 2 3 4
Precision
Conqueror
Triumph
Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Sorcery
Nimbus Cloak
Transcendence
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

1 2 3 4
Standard sums
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite

Ignite

LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #7 in
Top Lane
Win 49%
Get More Stats

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Introduction
Hey guys!I'm Twist and I am a Diamond League of Legends player and Streamer who mostly plays Garen , Jax and Mordekaiser.I decided to make this Garen guide to help new and even older players that want to get better at toplane.Since Garen's abilities are simple and straight forward I will not go over them during the guide but I will cover more specific things such as ''How to use your runes in order to make the most out of your champion'' or ''How to play Garen in order to match champions with newer kits'' or even ''How to think outside the box when you choose your items and runes''.Do not forget to leave some feedback in the comment section after reading the guide and if you need extra details on how to play Garen or toplane do not forget to check out my twitch channel : https://www.twitch.tv/twlst21 .
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Garen is a juggernaut , a class of champions that has low mobility and tons of damage.Because Garen is a fighter with low mobility he stacks a lot of hp and resistances but this shouldn't fool you into just engaging all the time without thinking about your positioning.In fact , when you play Garen your positioning should always be close to perfect during teamfights otherwise you will just get bursted down by the enemy carries , which you need to make picks on even before the teamfights start.A good Garen player is always aware of the map state and where his enemies are or might be , that allows him to make that vital pick before a teamfight that will result in a won teamfight and in a potential game winning objective or even in killing the enemy nexus.

Garen has pretty good late game scaling since he is a stat-stick champion just like Dr. Mundo or Master Yi or even Shyvana which are champions that scale incredibly well due to the nature of the items they build and their synergy with the kit of the champion.Because he is such a good scaling champion , you mostly want to play sidelane in the mid to late game so you can drag pressure to you in order for your team to be in an advantage on the other side of the map. Garen can 1v1 most of the champions in this game so you shouldn't really feel threatened in a 1v1 or even a 1v2 situation when being ahead.If you play right and have a big enought lead you can this kind of situations into your favour easily and maybe win your team the game off of that.

During lane phase , when playing Garen you want to be the one who hits his levels first so you can take trades without the risk of taking too much damage and then getting dove with the enemy jungler since because of the nature of your champion you will push a lot and want to play as aggressive as possible.After getting the lvl 2 and/or 3 lead on the enemy top you want to trade right away , make sure you level up q and e as your first 2 abilities so you can do as much damage as possible.Since your champion is made to play aggressively and to get early leads on your opponent there will be times when you will find yourself sitting close to the enemy toplane tower trying to get the enemy top low in order to dive him but he will just play passively and you will be just free gold for the enemy jungler.When this happens and you see that the other toplaner plays smart and doesn't allow you to damage him you want to try and get deep vision and if you get to face the enemy jungler , at this point in the game you should be able to kill him and then take some of his camps.

When TO play aggressive and when NOT TO:

When playing Garen you want to play aggressive as much as possible during every stage of the game but there are times when you shouldn't and you want to avoid these periods of time during the game so you don't risk dying and maybe losing the game because of that.When deciding if you should play aggressive or not you have to take in consideration where is your team , where is the enemy team and what objectives can you take , based on these factors there are a ton of scenarios and I will try to list as many as I can down below.

Early Game (Lane Phase)

During the lane phase , in order to decide if you want to play aggressive or not you have to think about how your matchup goes , what are the jungle champions in the game and where do they start their pathing.Tracking the enemy jungler will be such an important thing to think about when deciding how you want to play the lane since you don't really want to get in 2v1 situations unless you plan it from the beginning of the game.The gameplan for your lane phase should be different every game since matchups change all the time and the way junglers path changes from game to game too.If you find yourself in a good matchup where you can pressure early on but the enemy jungler starts on your side of the map you don't want to be aggressive from lvl 1 since the enemy jungler could lvl 2 gank you and then the lane will get so much harder , but if the enemy jungler starts on the other side of the map , you should in fact try to bait a gank and 2v1 him and the enemy top in an ideal scenario.The way you do this is by stacking the first 2 waves and don't let them crash when the 3rd minion wave arrives which is a cannon wave.If you do this properly and have dealt some damage to the enemy top in the process you should be able to 1v2 him and the enemy jungler if you get ganked.For a proper execution you have to kite around your minions and start hitting the first enemy champion that gets minion aggro , by doing that , since everyone should be lvl 2/3 at this point in the game you will focus the same champion as the minions which deal a lot of damage at this stage of the game.Obviously you shouldn't do this strat if the enemy toplaner is above about 60%hp and if the enemy jungler plays a champion that can sustain easily while clearing camps.The other way you can play this scenario is by crashing the first 2 waves just in time for the 3rd wave to start hitting them when they arrive to the enemy tower.By doing that you will delay his minions and the 4th wave will push to you by default so you don't need to overextent.While your minions will be under his tower look to place wards to protect yourself.

Mid Game

During the mid game(after the first tower falls) you have 3 main scenarios: You got the first tower , enemy top got first tower and the first tower was taken in a different lane but the want you want to find your self in most of the games is the first one since that one gives you the biggest advantage.
1.After taking the first tower in your lane , you will find yourself in a big advantage on the enemy laner and mostly likely on everyone in the game.Just after taking the first tower you want to push the next wave and let the minions crash in the second toplane tower , after that you need to reset and spend your gold.After that you have to look if there is any drake spawning or if any of your towers are about to fall.If that is the case . from base I would go straight to the spawning objective(if it's spawning soon) or to that tower that is about to fall to protect it and deny gold from the enemy team or maybe even kill them if they overextend.After you manage to protect the tower successfully or if you get the drake , look to kill the enemy bot with your jungler or your botlane.If you succeed in doing that I would go for botlane plates / tower.After taking the tower I would reset and go back to toplane to crash the wave again into the tier to and from there I would take the last tier 1 tower left , if there are none I would just push my lead in the toplane.You should think about this scenario as a gradual progression.From tier 1 tower top to the other tier 1's , if there are none take yours , and then the tier 2 in the other lanes , etc... but if you get the opportunity to push more , to inhib tower or maybe inhib take that opppoirtunity and abuse it but make sure you do not take an inhib before 20 minutes unless you will only focus on taking towers in the other lanes so you don't just end up wasting the waves of super minions and just give the enemy team more xp and gold.
2.You find yourself being behind and having to play around your tier 2 tower.Even tho this situation is pretty bad since Garen is not a champion that likes playing from behind expecially with the build I run on him.In this scenario you want to start building defensive items after trinity and playing aggressive in this situation would mean pushing the wave from your tier 2 to where the first waves met and after that you should try to make plays with your team , try to follow your team's calls and play the fights as well as you can.Instead of doing this you could also freeze at your tier 2 tower but this will put your team in a disadvantage since they will play the game 5v4 so I wouldn't recommend doing this for more than 2-3 waves.
3.When the enemy team or your own team took first tower in mid or bot.If your team is the one conceding the first tower you want to try and make roams after you crash your wave into the enemy tier 1 or after you take the toplane tower.If your team is the one who took the first tower I would swap lane with the laner that won his lane . keep it in an even state or maybe even get yourself ahead if the enemy laner/laners don't play properly and let the winning lane from your team get more ahead.

Late Game
In the late game (when everybody has 3+ items) there aren't that many variables that should change our playstyle.The only things that should change the way we want to play if we get this late into the game are champion strenghts and gold differences.By these I mean which champions can beat which , who can side lane , where and how to play teamfights.At this stage of the game your impact will be significantly lower if you do not play rotations right.Wheter you are behind or not of your laner , you shouldn't be an easy target to kill.In the late game making pressure on sidelanes is a must so you are the first that can rotate back to your team and get to play in an advantage since you will be 5th member of your team in a 5v4.Not getting caught tho is really important so you need to make sure that you have vision in neutral places of the map so you don't get flanked by other enemy champions.Getting deep vision is an important factor of late game but when you do try to place deep wards make sure nobody can flank you from fog of war so before placing a deep ward make sure you see the enemy team on the map clearing waves or on other wards.If you are in sidelane , have deep vison and everything set up but your team randomly decides to take a fight that doesn't make sense and you can't rotate there is two thing you need to do.Try to pressure the enemy sidelaner and maybe try to dive him and if that doesn't work , if you team loses make sure you try to clean up the enemy team but if your team wins that 4v4 at this stage of the game you could look to end.
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PROS
- Great splitpusher
- Good wave/jungle clear
- Good at 1v1's against most champions
- Good tankiness
- Good late-game scaling

CONS
- Low mobility
- Relies on summoner spells
- Easy to lock down if you have cc
- Hard to play when behind
- Bad teamfighting
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Conqueror
This rune fits Garen incredibly well due the nature of the champion and how it's kit synergises with Conqueror.You would take this rune when you want to exceed in long trades/duels since it gives you damage that ramps up the longer the fight goes and also healing which makes it the greatest sustain rune in the game.
Phase Rush
Phase Rush can be taken on Garen when the enemy team is pretty squishy and you won't really benefit from the extra damage and sustain from Conqueror.This rune helps you to stick to high mobility champions such as Assasins or some AdCarries.Even tho this is the second most used rune of mine on Garen I would still chose Conqueror as my standard rune.
Grasp of the Undying
I wouldn't recommend going Grasp of the Undying every game , not even in most of your games, I usually go for Grasp of the Undying after I took some time off from League and I find myself in a game where my team lacks frontline.Obviously don't do this if the matchup doesn't allow you to.I would go with Grasp only against tanks so I can match their tankiness.
Triumph
The main reason you take Triumph everytime you use the precision tree is that you don't have any other option in it's row.The other otions are Presence of Mind and Overheal which don't benefit your champion and it is always good to have that extra healing after killing an enemy champion and also you get extra gold from each takedown so this makes it the best option from it's row.
Legend: Tenacity
Tenacity is a stat that is pretty underrated in low mmr.Most people would much rather have more attack speed which converts to damage since you will attack more often but may I ask you what is the point of having a ton of damage if you don't even get the chance of dealing it.Here comes tenacity , since your champion has low mobility and relies on flash you are pretty easy to get hit by cc and here tenacity can help you.
Legend: Alacrity
As you guys have read previously , I love Legend: Tenacity and I think it's one of the best runes for Garen but there are times when Legend: Alacrity could be better but I would only take it if the enemy only has 2 or less hard cc abilities (for example: Leona R , Nocturne E or Morgana R/Q)
Last Stand
Last Stand to me feels a lot better than Coup de Grace because your champion likes to brawl a lot and Last Stand will give you more damage while you are low on hp.Against squishy champions you coukd consider going Coup de Grace since it's easier to get them to low hp than champions with high amounts of hp such as fighters or tanks.
Nimbus Cloak
I love Nimbus Cloak on Garen because it hides the weaknesses of the champions a little bit.The movement speed buff that it gives you after casting an ability is right what you need in orther to catch your enemies even without using your q first to engage.In my oppionion it is the best rune from the Sorcery tree for Garen.
Transcendence
I always take Transcendence when I use the sorcery tree because it has a great synergy with my Garen build.This rune is so great because it helps you get 40%cdr by only completing 2 items which are Trinity Force and Death's Dance and it also gives you extra ad if you build excess cdr which can be the case on Garen due to his wide item pool.
Gathering Storm
Gathering Storm is a rune that I would consider taking only if I go with the Phase Rush setup.If I would go with the Conqueror into Sorcery setup I would never do Gathering Storm instead of Nimbus Cloak or Transcendence.
Bone Plating
Bone Plating is a rune that I love taking into really hard matchups.It is really good expecially against champions that want to take short trades or against champions that have long cooldowns and can't trade really often such as Darius or Pantheon.
Demolish
Is a great split pushing option when playing against hard matchups or when playing Tank Garen since you won't always build Trinity Force in these situations.When playing in hard matchups and still being ahead I would still go for Trinity Force instead of Black Cleaver and it would be even better for split pushing.
Conditioning
Conditioning is a great rune choice when you are trying to do Tank Garen but you could also use it instead of Bone Plating into the Conqueror and Resolve setup if you feel like you don't need it into the certain matchup that you are playing.
Overgrowth
Overgrowth , just like Conditioning is one of the Resolve Runes that I would only use only when playing Tank Garen or instead of Bone Plating when playing with Conqueror and Resolve.When chosing between this and Conditioning it is just about personal bias but I would chose this only when I feel like the game will go super late and I have time to stack it.
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This section will change based on my experience with the new Season 11 items , I will be update it when the new season starts.
Trinity Force
Trinity Force is the best core item for Garen since it gives you burst on your Q , Decisive Strike , more dps on your E , Judgment , health and Cooldown Reduction.A lot of players would doubt this since they see that the item gives mana but the other stats are so important on your champion that even if you lose spent gold on the mana , the amound of stats the item gives you and the way is synergises with your kit makes up for the best item you can buy on Garen.
Black Cleaver
Black Cleaver is an item that I usually rush when playing Tank Garen since it gives you the best anti tank stats and most amount of hp for a Fighter item but I would take this as a second item when playing standard garen if the enemy team has more than 2 Tank /Tanky champions.You have to keep in mind that you will stack on Phage passives if you go trinity cleaver so the items will lose a bit of their gold efficiency so do this build only if you are ahead since this is the best way to get 40% CDR on Garen.
Death's Dance
Death's Dance is in my oppionion the BEST Fighter item in the game , expecially for a champion like Garen that is pretty bad during teamfights since the item allows you not to get insta killed while you will be cc'd for the entire teamfight.I would go for death's dance second item most of the time since it can enable you to stay on the map more due to it's sustain but if the enemy top/jg duo have a lot of CC I would go for Sterak's Gage which basically does the same thing as Death's Dance but in a different way.
Sterak's Gage
As I said before , Sterak's Gage and Death's Dance are pretty similar items but they want to achieve the same thing and also their passives don't stack so having both of them will enable you to be an unkillable adc killing machine during teamfights so make sure to take this unless you are incredibly ahead and can go Phantom Dancer instead of Sterak's Gage.
Phantom Dancer
Phantom Dancer is a really strong item due to it's synergy with your E , Judgment.The synergy between them comes from your E's ability to crit per each spin so this will double your damage.This is really good expecially against squishier targets since the item doesn't really give you sustain damage but more burst.I also wouldn't buy this item if I am not ahead of my laner and this item buy wouldn't affect me in the 1v1 since you always have to win side lane when you are ahead.
Dead Man's Plate
Dead Man's Plate is a really good item against high ad teams.If the enemy team is pretty heavy on physical damage I would go with this item second most of the times since it gives me more movement speed out of combat and I can roam around the map faster.Of course if the enemy adc is pretty fed or if the have a lot of healing I would go with Randuin's Omen or Thornmail instead.
Force of Nature & Spirit Visage
You would want to buy one of these two items when the enemy team has one or more ap damage threats but sometimes it is hard to decide which one to take.Personally when I decide which item to go between those 2 I think of what is the goal of the enemy ap champion.If they are playing a champion that can out dps me such as Ryze or Cassiopeia I would go for Force of Nature but if they have tanky ap champions that are made just to zone me away such as Cho'Gath or Shen I would go Spirit Visage so I can outsustain them.
Stridebreaker
Stridebreaker might be the new best item for Garen replacing Trinity Force which will still be good but I belive that the dash and slow you get from this new item will be the best utility choice for Garen + you get more hp from the new item.For the moment I am still testing to see the flaws it might add in your core build but for the moment it feels like the perfect item for heavy and slow juggernauts like Garen since you get a free dash to engage into fights or picks.
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For the moment this guide will have details only on the Very Hard and some of the Hard matchups and as I continue developing this guide all the matchups will be listed in this section.

Very Hard Matchups

Click to see the matchup list


Hard Matchups

Click to see the matchup list
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To wrap it all up , I want to tell you guys that I recommend you play this champion , it is pretty fun and easy to pull off.Keep in mind that this guide will keep developing over time and that it is not finished yet.Make sure you leave your feedback in the comments section of the guide and if you have any questions make sure to put them there too , I will do my best to answer.

If you are more of a visual learner make sure you check out my twitch channel : https://www.twitch.tv/twlst21 where I mostly play toplane and you might learn a thing or two who knows.

Also , make sure to keep an eye on my guides since if this one will have some succes I will try and make one for each champion I'm playing at the moment.Good luck on climbing!
League of Legends Build Guide Author Twist21
Twist21 Garen Guide
[10.24] How to climb as Garen in Season 11 [In-Depth]
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