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Garen Build Guide by Grivalodon

Top [12.10] Grivalodon's Unstoppable Garen - In Depth Guide

Top [12.10] Grivalodon's Unstoppable Garen - In Depth Guide

Updated on May 30, 2022
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5 2 5,542 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Grivalodon Garen Build Guide By Grivalodon Updated on May 30, 2022
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Runes: Most Versatile Page

1 2 3 4 5 6
Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Second Wind

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


1 2
The only summoner spells Garen needs
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[12.10] Grivalodon's Unstoppable Garen - In Depth Guide

By Grivalodon
Hello everyone. I am a top lane main who loves to play Garen, as I have got 500K Mastery Points on him and have tried and tested everything that is related and usable to him. I decided to make this helpful in depth guide because first of all I love Garen and second of all, I did not see many detailed Garen guides out there. I have been playing Garen a lot, I have been winning with Garen a lot and I have been studying the game a lot, so feel free to know that there is a lot of credibility in what I have written out in this detailed guide.
Strengths and Weaknesses


Easy to play.

Forgiving laning Phase thanks to Perseverance Passive

Strong Splitpusher.

Good Teamfighting.

Good at 1v1s.

Can build both AD and Tank.

Can't be pinned down so easily and can survive burst thanks to W Tenacity gain and Shield.

Tanky with a lot of Damage.

Strong againts squishies.

Great for getting kills in situations the enemy didn't see you coming. Playing around vision makes Garen very strong.


Has got some bad matchups in the top lane that outscale him hard and can't beat them early too.

Doesn't have any real CC in his kit. Q is good enough for Garen to land E and chunk down the target before they can use any abilities but doesn't provide very good peeling for the team.

Immobile, meaning Garen is susceptible to ganks if not positioned correctly.

Falls of late game. The damage of late game carries is going to be enough to shut down Garen, no matter how tanky he gets.

Garen is a fun to play, great low elo pick, and can even be useful in high elo. His kit works effectively against most team comps, and is easy enough to pick up and do decent with him. People underestimate his damage and tankiness a lot of times. The reason Garen has not seen enough love in Pro Play and Super High Elo is because of his simple and predictable kit, but that same easy and predictable kit allows for a low elo stomper. Garen's role in a teamfight is mainly to destroy the enemy backline, made possible with his Ultimate.You should not frontline with Garen, because getting chain CCed and absorbing all of the enemy damage will most likely kill you. You should look for engages after your frontliner has engaged with the enemy or if you have got strong engage champions on your team that you can safely follow up and deal damage.
Summoner Spells
Flash 100% of the time. Flash is your bread and butter. Flash is useful both for engages and disengages.

Ignite 99% of the time. Garen needs the early kill pressure that ignite offers to get some kills in order to be more useful in the mid to late game.

Teleport can work against weaker enemies and if you want to be able to affect the map and other lanes more. Garen is a strong splitpusher, good teamfighter with some roaming capability and Ignite is a perfect match for his playstyle most of the time.

Ghost is usable against enemies where you need the extra sticking power but you do not want to or can not use Phase Rush. It is a summoner spell that Garen does not ever need, but works.

Exhaust is another summoner spell that works against pretty much everyone, especially against strong all in champions like Tryndamere and Irelia, but there is no particular need for Garen to use it.
Usable Runes Breakdown and Analysis
Precision and Resolve trees are what you mostly want to be running on Garen, whether you are extremely skilled with him or not.

Conqueror is very easy to proc as Garen, you just need to hit the enemy 6 times to get the full 12 stacks effect, either with auto attacks, which you really shouldn't, or with abilities, which is the main damage source of Garen. The damage and healing it offers when fully stacked is nice and generally, this rune makes your all ins stronger than using other runes. Great Synergy with Garen's standard playstyle.

Triumph is the most important rune in the game for juggernauts and multikill champions, that rely a lot on healing in a teamfight. While Garen is not a multikill champion like Darius, because he works better as a single target executioner, Triumph is still useful to him. The gold it gives is not that much in order to be taken into account but the healing it can give may be the winning factor of a teamfight, or even an 1v1, which most often than not leads to you, surviving getting ignited when extremely low, after having killed the enemy. Conqueror and Triump Combo make Garen's teamfighting a lot stronger.

Legend: Tenacity is the best Legend rune for Garen. If Legend: Alacrity worked with Garen's E Judgment, then it would be a different story. Because the attack speed provided by runes does not synergize with Garen's E, Tenacity is the best stat that the Legend runes have to offer. More Tenacity means you are going to be affected less by enemy stuns and slows (excluding airborne), which is a great stat to have on Garen, with the crowd control of the game being so deadly nowadays.

It is not often that you are going to kill enemies without your Ultimate Demacian Justice, and Coup de Grace does not amplify the True Damage of Garen's Ult, despite of how low on HP the enemy is. On the other hand, it will be common for you to fight when being low HP. Last Stand excels in fighting the enemy when you are low on Health, because of the high amount of damage it gives. Therefore, it is the best rune for Garen out of the other 2. Cut Down is a rune that you may want to use only if the enemy team got at least 2 to 3 Health Stacking Tanks, like a Sion and Cho'Gath in the same team, in order to cut them down faster as the rune suggests, but that scenario is going to be extremely rare.

As for Resolve as secondary tree, there isn't any standard rune you should use. Most Resolve tree runes synergize well with Garen, depending on your playstyle and the enemy team.

Demolish is very strong if you are finding yourself to often win lane and have time to get plates while enemy laner is dead or back to base to regen, or if the enemy has got a roam heavy laner who you can not contest on roaming, as it will make turret melting way easier, more efficient and get the turret plating gold way faster.

Conditioning is also a very useful rune for Garen, as it gives a big powerspike at 12 minutes into the game. I recommend you take this rune against difficult melee champions, because fighting them early on might not be a good idea, but after you get the Armor and Magic Resist from this rune, you will be in a position to kill them or force them to back.

Second Wind is mandatory against poke heavy and ranged laners. The synergy with Doran's Shield and Garen's Passive is unreal and the sustain they give when combined is a huge tool for surviving the mediocre early game of Garen and scale harder into the mid to late game by having that healthy early laning phase. I find myself using Second Wind more often than not, even against melee matchups just because of how unkillable Garen feels with the combo of Doran's Shield and his Passive Perseverance in the laning phase. Great for outtrading the enemy, as you will heal back a lot more than they will.

Bone Plating is another good rune on Garen. Works well if you plan on being aggressive early on and win more trades against the enemy. I kind of like Second Wind more because of the long 45 second cooldown of Bone Plating, but otherwise, it is a good rune against some strong and aggressive laners.

Overgrowth rune doesn't have the best synergy with Garen, but can potentially work and you can get something out of very hard lanes where the enemy can punish you if you step forward to farm. If you have problems against a specific matchup and you know that you are not going to be able to farm properly, you can opt for Overgrowth in order to gain some permanent max health while you miss farm.

Revitalize is a rune that works with Garen's W Courage, Passive Perseverance and Sterak's Gage. It is a good rune overall but the use of other runes is more effective, leaving Revitalize in a kind of strange spot. You can go with this rune if you got a Yuumi on your team and you plan on building Spirit Visage, just for the maximum healing possible.

Unflinching is a great rune for Garen. It synergizes so well with Legend: Tenacity and the W Courage Tenacity gain, which makes it harder for enemies to pin you down with CC and destroy you. A perfectly timed W with fully stacked Legend Tenacity rune and Unflinching can make Garen easily escape most stuns and slows in the game. Overall a great rune for Garen, proving extremely useful against high CC enemy teams.

Using Phase Rush on Garen is something that I would recommend to someone that has played a lot of Garen and has got a lot of experience with him. Garen's early game is a lot different with Phase Rush compared to Conqueror and the player must adapt to the different playstyle it requires in order to work.

Phase Rush is providing sticking power, therefore making it easier to stay next to the retreating enemy while damaging them, and most importantly easily disengage after the trade, without the risk of getting caught just becuase of the extra movement that Phase Rush will give. You need to build Stridebreaker to easily proc Phase Rush, as a single Q, Stride, E combo will proc it, while you need to do AA, Q, E combo to proc it without Stridebreaker. The early game of Garen without Conqueror is a lot weaker, so you should build some damage ( Ironspike Whip, it can proc Phase Rush, best early buy), before Berserker's Greaves.

Nimbus Cloak is excellent. Your summoner spells will give a burst of movement speed for a small amount of time which is pretty huge when trying to engage or disengage the enemy with Flash. You can keep up with enemies after you have used Ignite on them too and deal that extra bit of damage with your abilities or auto attacks that you need to secure the kill.

Celerity enhances everything, from the Phase Rush rune, to Garen's Q Decisive Strike movement speed, to the Dead Man's Plate movement speed, to Stridebreaker's 2% Movement Speed per Legendary Item Mythic passive, and even to the whole Nimbus Cloak rune, which itself gives a burst of ms. It is an excellent rune if you plan to use Sorcery on Garen.

Scorch is a low damage rune that is only viable in the laning phase if you plan to fight the enemy all the time, which should not be your main goal with Garen. The damage it gives is so miniscule, making this rune be a waste of slot.

Waterwalking is effective when going in for those river skirmishes for Rift Herald , Baron and Drakes. early on, the use of Phase Rush should not allow Garen to be a strong river skirmisher but later into the game, after some drakes have been taken and Baron has spawned, it can be a strong rune which enemy players will most likely not have taken into account.

Gathering Storm is a scaling rune that works well with Garen. Garen's late game is not by any means great, but at 20 to 30 minutes into the game, Garen can benefit a lot from 14 to 29 AD respectivelly, just to cover some of the damage that is lost by not using Conqueror thoughout the game. Your goal with Garen is to end the game as fast as possible though. If the game goes past 1 hour though, which is extremely rare, that 101 Attack Damage is sweet if you find a way to use it without getting blown up in a second by the enemy team. Bush Garen strategy is real for a reason and it works.

Using Precision as primary and Sorcery as secondary works well if you are proficient with Garen or against easier matchups. Most of the time though, you are going to be fighting enemies as skilled as you, and Resolve secondary will make Garen's laning phase way more manageable.

Sorcery primary with Resolve secondary is not the best combination, unless you adapt to it. The lack of the Triumph rune makes this playstyle viable if you play in a "Hit and Run" kind of way. Engaging the enemy team and taking long fights with them is not ideal without Triumph and Conqueror. This is what the Phase Rush playstyle is good at, going in, executing an enemy, hopefully an important or a fed one, and escaping with the move speed that the Sorcery tree gives. It works because Garen has got an execute button and with smart positioning, Phase Rush Garen can be a big threat to the enemy backline.

As for the shards of base stats section, you mostly want to be picking double Adaptive Force and lastly Armor or Magic Resist depending on the matchup. Against hard matchups, feel free to go double Resistances to take less of their damage. If the enemies got 2 different champions that could come to your lane and one is AD and the other one is AP, pick Health in the last shard just to be sure. Health works good against both. Attack Speed is not recommended in the first shard spot just for the sole reason that it does not synergize with Garen's E. I guess you could potentially use it though if you are not good at last hitting minions and want that extra safety of the added attack speed in auto attacks.
Starting Items
Doran's Shield You want to build Doran's Shield all the time on Garen. It synergizes extremely well with his Passive Perseverance, which is basically a way to keep it regening you even after you have been hit by the enemy. D Shield healing effect lasts for 8 seconds and Garen's Passive is activated 8 seconds after he has been hit by an enemy. The healing that D Shield gives early on in the laning phase is comparable to the amount that Garen's Passive gives in the first levels. So, mathematically thinking about it, D Shield is great because it constantly keeps you healthy after getting hit, and helps you regen after your trades, which are a mandatory part of Garen's playstyle. You poke and trade untill they are all in-able while you regen a lot of the damage that they throw at you. Doran's Shield is extremely good against Ranged and Poke heavy leaners too, for the obvious reason that it heals you back for a percentage of health every time they hit you.

Health Potion Drink your potion if you are below 40% health and plan to stay in lane for a kill or for farming without danger of getting ganked. Using it before all ins is a good idea too.
Early Powerspikes
Garen's greatest early game powerspike comes from his Ultimate Demacian Justice which is basically an execution, if the enemy is low enough. Learning when your R can kill the enemy and when not, is a great tool which is going to make you win more often in the laning phase and stop seeing the enemy live with 1HP again. Demacian Justice and Ignite is a powerful combo to use in order to secure kills.

Berserker's Greaves is the best boot option on Garen, considering you have not fallen extremely behind. Attack Speed is a stat Garen loves because it synergizes perfectly with E Judgment. If you have fallen behind and the enemy laner is at least 2 levels ahead, Defensive boots like Plated Steelcaps or Mercury's Treads are a better choice. Consider Boots of Swiftness if enemies got a ton of slows, because it is always better to be able to do some damage to them, rather than having a ton of damage and not being able to use it.

Ironspike Whip gives Garen all the early damage he needs when opting for Stridebreaker. The active is useful when used with E for the extra chunk of damage it can deal. It procs Phase Rush easier too if you plan on using that rune.

Phage is your best option when you are planning on building 1st item Hullbreaker for the extra resistances and the strong sidelaning it can offer. Health and Damage early on are extremely helpful against True Damage executioners like Darius and Cho'Gath. You can build Phage early on and complete Hullbreaker or Sterak's Gage, at any point in the game.

Hearthbound Axe is an item you want to build early on if you need some movement speed to engage the enemy laner. Hitting a minion or an enemy once, gives you this small burst of movement you might need for your engages. The stats it gives synergize well with Garen early in the laning phase.

Sheen is not the item most Garens build as the 1st component to Trinity Force, as most who plan on building Trinity, build Hearthbound Axe or even Kindlegem if they are into some kind of hard matchup. It can be extremely useful though when both you and your enemy constantly fight and trade, because if will make your Q Decisive Strike deal a lot more damage and give you an advantage in trading and poking. Maxing Q in lane synergizes well with Sheen early on. Good when the enemy constantly leaves lane too, because you can take plates easier.

Kindlegem is great to build early into lanes that you are going to take damage whatever you do without being able to trade back, like ranged and poke heavy laners. The Ability Haste it gives is a bit useful for using your abilities more often to farm properly too. A lot of items have Kindlegem as their component, including Stridebreaker and Trinity Force.

Executioner's Calling works wonders against heavy healers like Illaoi, Irelia and Fiora to say some. Build it into Mortal Reminder later on in the game for the 60% Grievous Wounds.
Mythic Options
Stridebreaker and Trinity Force are the best Mythic Options for Garen at the moment, and honestly, I do not see the meta shifting away from these 2 items anytime soon.

Stridebreaker is what you should be building most of the time, because most champions can pretty much kite Garen to hell and back. Heck, even Tanks can kite Garen and escape nowadays. It works no matter if you are ahead, even or behind. The slow it gives is pretty helpful both in 1v1 scenarios and teamfights too, as it allows your team to catch up to high mobility enemies who can dash around the rift.

Trinity Force is the strongest sidelaning/splitpushing item you can build on Garen. Your Q will hurt more, your turret melting capabilities will be unmatchable, and along with Hullbreaker, which it pairs so well with, Garen becomes one of the best, maybe top 5, splitpushers of the game. I recommend you build this item only when ahead of the enemy if you plan to use it offensively and not push. If you plan to splitpush, which you should consider depending on your team and the enemy team, you can not really go wrong with Trinity Force. If enemy team cocnsinst of high mobility champions, Stridebreaker might be a better and more tempting choice though.
Best 2nd Item Options
These are the best items you can build on Garen after you complete your mythic.

If they got at least 2 lifestealers or one who is kinda fed, Mortal Reminder is your best choice.

If you want to commit on taking down enemy turrets as fast as possible and 1v1 or even 1v2 in the side lane, you can not go wrong with Hullbreaker.

Sterak's Gage is a good Teamfighting item and it works if you need to win those early to mid game objectives with your team and you are gonna teamfight a lot.

Dead Man's Plate is a generic item that works pretty much against everyone with the movement it gives and offers some Armor so that you do not get so easily blown up by AD enemy champions. If they do not have somebody that needs to be countered my Magic Resistance or by Anti-heal early on, You want to build DMP.

Force of Nature works wonders against a heavy AP comp and if they got at least 2 AP champs or one who is fed early on, Force of Nature should be your best bet. The movement is a nice bonus too.

You will rarely want to build Death's Dance early on. This item got a great passive along with nice stats but will work as it should, only if you are fed enough. If you have not dominated the laning phase pre 15 mins, save Death's Dance for later.

Randuin's Omen is God Tier against fed ADCs and Tryndamere. If you are dealing with a strong Tryndamere or/and a fed ADC, get Randuin's asap. The active is basically a mini AOE Exhaust.

Anathema's Chains should be bought early only if somebody on the enemy team is so strong and fed that you need to take decreased damage from them in order to survive and have their Tenacity decreased.
Usable Legendary Items
These are the legendary items you want to be choosing from, most of the time, if not allways.

Dead Man's Plate is your bread and butter when enemies got at least two AD champs or they got mobile champs in general. The HP, Armor and Movement Speed it gives are all great stats for Garen. DMP makes Garen tanky and can save him with the movement speed in situatuons where there could be no chance to stay alive otherwise. Great both for Teamfighting and Splitpushing. At max stacks, the first auto attack or Q will deal bonus damage and slow the enemy too, which is good if you plan to flash in on an ADC and get the kill almost instantly and lowering the chance of their escape too.

You can build Hullbreaker as a first item too. The stats it gives are insane and gives Garen the extra tankiness and damage to easily 1v2 or even 1v3 when caught alone, considering you are not behind. Great for melting turrets and splitpushing. This item fits Garen's playstyle so well most of the time.

Force of Nature is essentially a Dead Man's which works against AP champs. The movement it gives is not that high as in a fully stacked DMP but the Magic Resistance it offers is off the charts. A fully stacked Force of Nature makes you take 20% less Magic Damage, making it necessary against heavy AP comps, or when facing at least one fed enemy AP champ.

Sterak's Gage is the most versatile item for Juggernauts, and that stays true for Garen. You should be completing Sterak's in every game. The damage it gives is not a small amount by any means and the health is mandatory to have on Garen. The shield is the main focus of the item though, which will make Garen not get blown up so easily by the enemies, whether be it a teamfight or a 1v1. Always build Sterak's.

Mortal Reminder is the best Anti-heal item for Garen. It gives all the stats that Garen loves. The attack speed it gives makes your E deadlier and the movement speed makes your engages/disengages a lot smoother. Great item to have if facing a heavy healing team, or even if one enemy lifestealer is fed.

Death's Dance is an item which most people build for its passive. Its passive works like the Triumph rune, which is great for situations where half a second could mean you staying alive or you dying, just because of the clutch healing and the damage delay it gives. Works both against AD and AP enemies. If you are strong and plan to carry the game, it is a great item to have, otherwise you should build tankier items.

Randuin's Omen is very strong against crit heavy champions and ADCs, if you can get near them and use the active, which is basically a mini AOE Exhaust. Works like a charm against Yasuo, Yone and Tryndamere, who are going to be next to you in order to kill you. Great anti crit item and great when you are behind and need a ton of armor too.

Garen is not that great against tanks . Allthough he got innate armor reduction with his E Judgment, Garen's kit is not that much focused in all ins, but in small trades until they are all in-able. If the enemies got at least 3 armor stacking tanks, it is only then worth to go for Black Cleaver, which is gonna help your AD teammates deal more damage to them too. If not, invest in some tankier items or items with a more useful passive.

Spirit Visage synergizes well with Sterak's Gage, Garen's Passive Perseverance and champions that can heal and shield you, because of its passive which enhances healing and shielding. It is nowhere near as good as Force of Nature in terms of Tankiness against Magic Damage, but if you got a Yuumi, a Sona, a Karma or a Soraka on your team and you do not need the extra MR that Force of Nature gives, Spirit Visage is a solid item.

Anathema's Chains is strong against the enemy carry. The reduced damage output and reduced Tenacity they will have at max stacks can be the difference between you staying alive and winning that fight, or you dying to them and giving them even more Gold and means to end the game. Works very well both on an Anti-carry build, where most of your items serve the purpose of countering somebody from the enemy team, and builds where you buy general and versatile items but you need to indirectly deal with a fed enemy too.

Silvermere Dawn is clutch against a high Crowd Control team. The stats it offers are not the best by any means but the item active is a must, if getting caught by CC once means the death of you. You can just build Quicksilver Sash and complete Silvermere Dawn later into the game too. Instantly escaping slows and stuns with the click of a button and having increased tenacity for a few second after that, can make you a huge threat to the enemy backline. A great buy against Mordekaiser as the active can be used to escape his Ultimate, the Death Realm, and catch the enemy backline unprepared.

Warmog's Armor is basically a stronger Perseverance with the benefit of a ton of HP too. It is not an item you will most likely need often. It becomes extremely useful if the enemies deal a ton of True Damage and can poke the **** out of you in teamfights too. Just do not get hit for 5 seconds and in a matter of seconds you will be full HP. The extra health it gives makes the shield of Sterak's Gage bigger too, but it is not worth to just build this item for the bigger Sterak's shield, if there is not enough poke or true damage on the enemy team.

Guardian Angel is an item that you will rarely want to build on Garen. The stats are not that good and you should build it only if your death means the loss of the game, which should be a rare occasion on soloqueue. Stopwatch is an interesting component though, as you can position yourself over a lot of enemies and use it while spinning with E, to deal damage while they can't do anything against you.

Gargoyle Stoneplate is an overall great item for tanks and juggernauts alike. Garen can make use of the stats and the active, which gives a huge shield that absorbs damage for a few seconds. Shield becomes even bigger with Spirit Visage. Worth building against high burst enemy team that can easily take you down despite of having already built other defensive items.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks that will help you take your Garen to the next level.

Whenever possible, Auto Attack into Q is better than just dropping a single Q, as it will obviously deal more damage. Useful when you are both farming in lane and want to poke or punish the enemy.

Your W Courage, except for the shield it gives, offers increased tencaity and reduced damage for a very small amount of time. Whenever you are about to get hit by CC it is wise to pop W and escape the CC earlier and more efficiently.

Your Q Decisive Strike is a free cleanse. You can use it after slows like Nasus' Wither and Darius' Crippling Strike to completely counter their effects.

Garen's Passive Perseverance is what makes Garen's laning phase forgiving and manageable against those hard matchups. Sacrificing farm and staying back to heal is a great way to outsurvive the enemy and coordinate a gank with your jungler.
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