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Garen Build Guide by Kartagoo

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A Guide how I reached Master in S9 with Garen

By Kartagoo | Updated on October 20, 2020
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Runes: 10.6 Tri/BC mostly Top

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Nimbus Cloak

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


1 2 3 4
Mid/Top Lane (Read notes)
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #7 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
Get More Stats


Starters (Read notes)
First Back Component(s) & Build Paths (Read Notes)
First Back when Shield Start against Poke (850g)
First Back against Melee (1150g)
Buy this when Snowballing or Behind (600g)
How to Start building Components

Ability Order For Top lane (Read notes)

1 2

Threats & Synergies

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

Champion Build Guide

A Guide how I reached Master in S9 with Garen

By Kartagoo

my name is Kartago I am 22, I am from North Germany and playing on the EUW Servers. I start playing League at the end of Season 1 and started playing ranked in S3. I hit Master last Season (S9) and I wanna give some help how to climb with Garen and how to adapt in certain Match-ups.

I like to start playing and maining Garen in Season 8 where I also hit Diamond 1 with Old Garen. I played Champs like Gang plank and Galio that where much more Complex but Garen was always a Champion I liked, so I thought to myself. Why not maining this Guy who just Jumps at people from above, Spins like a Beybalde on them, screams "DEMACIA!" and strikes foes down with a big *** lighting sword from the sky!

I gonna talk about Top and Mid lane in general, why I chose them and how to play it with some Match-ups rough explained such as against Ranged and Melee's. This Guide isn't nearly finished as I want to have it! So for example if I see comments, where many of you want a specific Match-up explained or some Match-ups more in depth explained for example, I will respond to you! Also keep in mind this Guide IS NOT FINISHED YET, I will keep updating it and edit some Chapters like Gameplay and explain more like Runes, Laning, Matchups and how to build against specific Champs.

Only thing left I want to say is that you can also catch me on my Stream , where I do mostly commentary with face Cam and I surely gonna answer your questions about our Demacian Boi. Other then that, thank you very much for Reading this guide and leave a like and a comment if it helped you!

Have a nice day and good luck on the Field of Justice!
Gameplay Top Lane & Rune Talk Back to Top
First off all I don't want you to master Garen first, much more I want you to understand the Game. The Advantage, we Garen Players or Mains have is in fact that we don't have to fancy Combos and all that to Trade, to get a Kill, to engage and so on. We can pretty much relay on our easy combos and focus more on the Map control, on the Roam to help other Lanes and on the Objective-Control.

You never go wrong with Garen Top Lane, it's his Lane where he was born in and always fits. He also has more Matchups that he can do some work and give the Team a good Frontline.

- What Summoner spells do I use?
Always go Flash then I can recommend Ignite, but there are some other variants, too. Such as Teleport, helps to get faster back to lane and also for some nasty Bot TP's, that maybe wins you the game. But I can only recommend this in Diamond2+ where your AD Carries actually doing stuff. Then we have Ghost and boy this one, is something else late game combined with Conquerorand either Gathering Storm + Transcendence or Taste of Blood + Ravenous Hunter! Take this if you really don't wanna fight your Laner for example against Tanks like Ornn , Malphite or Fighter that giving you a tough time such as Fiora , Darius or Mordekaiser !

-How do I lane?
Against Melees and Ranged, you pretty much wanna always get Lv 2 before them and get an early Lead over your Opponent. Keep in mind if they have a enemy Xin Zhao , Rek'Sai , Shaco , Twitch for example and you are on the blue team, that you perhaps getting Lv 2 ganked after he finished Red Buff. So either ward early or only last hit and play safe.

Always look at your Map and track the enemy Jungler down. As a Top laner you are much more vulnerable as in Mid lane. So if you don't see the enemy Jungler step back and lose some CS and just let the enemy Minions push back into you. It's always more worth losing CS than dying only for overextending. If you're Jungler is in your near you can play a bit more aggressive and ask him to Counter gank. To the specific Match-ups scroll down to get some more Information

Against Ranged Top laners you trying just to give them no Kills at all. As long your team is winning there's no need for a miscalculated All-in that ending killing you. So rather try to push the Lane and go for roams! Predator helps you alot wit that.

-What Runes can I take?
I described them on the Top a bit more in the Notes. But Basically Fighter = Conqueror you want Win early against Champs that gets scary late Game such as Mordekaiser , Darius , Jax , Nasus , Riven , Fiora take Conqueror. If You are fighting against Teemo , Kayle , Kennen , Heimerdinger ? = Go for Fleet Footwork or Predator if you wanna roam a lot.

-What do I go in the 2nd Keystone Key?
I'm not 100% sure what to go against every specific Champ or Match-ups, because you look more on your Team and the enemy team, rather ONLY your Lane Opponent.

So Resolve is pretty much always a safe Option if you aren't sure what to go. My most favourite one's are Conditioning which amps up your Courage and also gives later on bonus Resistances combined with mountain dragon and then there is Overgrowth which is imo a MUST have! But instead of you can also get Second Wind which is great against DoT Damage or Poke against Ranged. Also like most guides recommend Bone Plating for Garen 2nd, I, Never ever go this! I always take instead cuz it's for both Early/Mid/Late Game!
When do I take Resolve now? Against Melee's with Early short Trades and Poke like Gnar , Gangplank , Camille for example or just Ranged Champions like ADC's, Teemo or Kennen

When do I take Domination and what?
Only viable choice is either Taste of Blood(which I always take) or Cheap Shot which I don't like much, cuz I doesn't help you against hard lanes. I take this when I wanna win my Lane early and think I need Late game a lot of healing with & against a Melee Top laner like Mordekaiser , Darius , Jax , Riven , Fiora and they have a Melee/Tank Jungler and/or a Tank Support/Melee Mid Lane. Basically if you fight against 3 or more Melee Characters, where one of them has a scarly late Game (mostly always the Top Laner).

And when Sorcery?
Keyword: SCALING! Look at your or the enemy Team! If you see a Vladimir , Kassadin , Nasus , Kai'Sa , Ezreal , Vayne Veigar Champs like these. Then I always take the Scaling %CDR Shard, Transcendence and Gathering Storm. But ALWAYS REMEMBER you playing bascily with no 2nd Runes Tree till 10 Minutes and Lv 10 so don't Overextend and Overestimate yourself! Farm, look for good Trades, maybe throw a Cull in as well to make more Profit from Farming and you got some Late game Insurerence! BUT I can say, it's not a OP-Sleeper Keystone-Tree. You have to become Good at it!

EDIT: Nimbus Cloak became rly Strong and still is, so I acutally play this instead of Gathering storm when I take sorcery (MOSTLY not NECESSARILY) it gives Garen an even better use of Ignite and Flash to engage and disengage.

-What do I build? What to get on first Recall and When or
Get with +750g Ruby Crystal and Long Sword and ALWAYS get Refillable Potion if you have still 150g left. If you have about 1100g get Ruby Crystal and 2x Dagger. then go for Phage , Stinger or if you are winning get Sheen.

So when Trinity Force and when Black Cleaver?
Most ppl would say obviously against Tanks. BUT you can also go Cleaver with Stinger against hard matchups like Mordekaiser , Darius. Or when you're behind and you got already & go for because the Damage comes actually very close to !

EDIT: Nowadays I actually go Trinity Force into Black Cleaver (against non tank melee's) or Black Cleaver into Trinity Force (against Tanks if not super ahead) when I play against Top/Jg & Mid or Support melee this build is rly Snowballing Garen Hard and you can shred armor for your team and deal a lot of Damage (scroll to the Top to find it in the "Build" section).

Second Item is ALWAYS Sterak's Gage! Then if you are super ahead go straight for Death's Dance (or buy it with 3500g income as 2nd) otherwise get a Tank Armor or Magic Resist Item like Dead Man's Plate or Spirit Visage. Then either if ahead for (if you don't have it yet) or a Tank Item. As last Item(s) you can adapt on, what you need in your Scenario. For that scroll up and look in the Notes of my recommended Item Customizations!

-When do I Split and when do I group as Garen?
Basically if your team is winning: Group with your team, peel or protect the one who's carrying. Get some items (if you are behind to make it easier for them get rid of threats) For Example Randuin's Omen, Black Cleaver are 2 items that actually supports your team to do the work. Black Cleaver shreds the armor so your ADC does more Damage. Randuins Slows Threats for your Carries. Keep these in mind if you getting Carried and dont feel bad! There will be your time to shine!

Splitting is the Opposite: You are super strong but your team is super behind. Now you have to hope that they will communicate with you and not straight up ignoring or flaming you. If though, mute the player(s)! Tell them to play safe, get farm, distract the team and let you do the Job of pressure the Game. Keep also in Mind of the enemy movement. You can maybe 1v2 but you can't 1v3 or 1v4 so always put a ward somewhere where they may come from. Leave when you see more enemies moving towards you! Switch Lanes when you took down Inhibitors or you have to be near Objectives like Dragon or Baron. This is one the hardest Ways to win cuz you really relay on the patients of your team and of the enemy team making mistakes such as bad Objective calls and engages on your team.

And if You and your Team is equally ahead you can do a mix of splitting and helping your team when they about fight a Team fight! Just keep communicating with your Team what you up to and what they up to, to keep Synergy on your Team.
Gameplay Mid Lane Back to Top
Why would you ever play Garen Mid lane?! I saw a Challenger Garen player in NA called Riste doing it first and he inspired with some fun Ideas to make it work! So you pretty much want always get Predator or Fleet against Ranged Champions. Against Assasins you take either Predator such as against Zed or Grasp of the Undying against Qiyana , Fizz , Ekko , Kassadin, Talon.

- What Summoners do I use?
Always take Flash and pretty much always Ignite or Barrier against Burst-Mages like Syndra , Ahri , Orianna , Xerath.

-What do I do in the first 10 Minutes?
After the first wave around 3 Minutes Ward at the Area next to The Raptors to have vision on the enemy Jungler. You need because my Strategy is to perma push your Laner in and either helping your Jungler if he's invading or to have even CS with your Laner. Mages like Syndra , Ahri , Azir , Orianna , Xerath have it hard to focus on CS'ing and Poking you. Also tell your Jungler if you succeeding at pushing your Laner in, tell your Jungler to focus the Side-Lanes!

EDIT: So the 10.12 Predator rework changed Garen mid a lot! It got weaker to roam you had due to the fact that it's only a "Chase" movement speed rune and you had to change the runes tree to compensate the nerf a little bit for Garen (Scroll to Rune section) Now you can use Ingenious Hunter & Ghost Poro anymore which was sooooo good imo cuz Garen actually could buy a lot of Active items like the Predator shoes itself, Randuin's Omen , Youmuu's Ghostblade, Quicksilver Sash etc. + you could spam at max 5. Stacks of Ingenious Hunter vision for your teams with either Totem Ward or Farsight Alteration which was so strong late game (at least in high elo). But imo its still an ok rune for Garen just somewhat weaker.

-When should I roam Top/Bot or help my Jungler out?
First you have to push your Lane in or having your minions at least in the middle of your Lane. You gotta adapt how your Opponent plays: If he plays Aggressive: Dodge his Abilities or wait for him to use them, then push in. Look at your Health Bar, don't go for a Clear if you are bellow 50% HP! If he plays defensive, get Cull to get an even bigger Advantage in terms of Farming CS. Best back to Base is with 600g to get Cull and Refillable Potion.

Second for Roaming Bot or Top you need at least your Ultimate Demacian Justice and (not necessary but helpful is Predator)! If you have both and the enemy Bot/Top is pushing in and maybe has 50-75% HP. then that's almost every time a GAREN-teed kill with Predator + Ignite + Demacian Justice. If you got spotted by a ward keep going if the enemy top/bot is not falling back. DON'T FORGET to ping "On your way" to the Lane, you are about gank when you are in the middle of the river to give them time to engage. Do not hesitate to spam your ping.

So the best Scenario for you would be if you pushed your Laner in. If you getting Pushed in and your Jungler wants to invade or needs help, communicate with him that you cant help and ping him away!

-When do I go Fleet Footwork and when Predator?
Same like Top lane if you wanna try to win your lane on your Own go Fleet Footwork, if you rather wanna help your Team go for Predator. BUT for Midlane I can ALWAYS recommend Predator more cuz you WILL roam sooner or later for Objectives. But just try some Variations out and see what fits your playstyle the best!

-What to buy on 1st/2nd recall with Different Gold lead?

300g if you started with Doran's Shield:
Refillable Potion + Rejuvenation Bead

300g if you started with 1x Health Potion & 3x Rejuvenation Bead:
Boots of Speed

with 600g (sell 1 Rejuvenation Bead):
Boots of Speed + Ruby Crystal

with 900g (sell 1 Rejuvenation Bead):
Ruby Crystal + Boots of Speed + Long Sword

with 1300g (sell 1 Rejuvenation Bead):
Phage + Refillable Potion

with 2000g (sell 2 Rejuvenation Bead):
Phage + Sheen + Refillable Potion

What do I build?
-You can find the Full Builds if you scroll up, with notes in each Build. But to go more in depth: ALWAYS get Trinity Force for Mid lane never ever go Black Cleaver! In my opinion you not playing as a Frontline-Bruiser that goes in and tanks everything for your Team like Top lane Garen.

Your Playstyle and Mission is something else. You building to One-shot either a squishy target like an ADC or Mid laner for example, who is the threat in your Game and get enough tankiness to get out and let your Team deal with the rest. Thats why Trinity Force + Predator are such dangerous items for the enemy ADC and Mid Lane when you get it very early, cuz you just One-Shotting them with these.

After Trinity Force , you get Boots of Mobility if you see your Side Lanes getting constantly pushed in plus you are super strong and have already Tri force to make your Roams even more Dangerous. Otherwise get Berserker's Greaves if you have a big kill lead, Mercury's Treads against heavy AP+CC(imo the best choice because you can always need Tenacity) and Ninja Tabi against heavy AD.

As your second item you can always go for Sterak's Gage or rush Dead Man's Plate if you have the gold. Dead Man's Plate gives you movement speed and the proc to deal 100 magic damage to make your Predator + Trinity Force even better!

-When do I go Crit and what do I get?
Always go Crit as your 3rd item so after Trinity Force & Sterak's Gage or Dead Man's Plate. I doesn't really matter if you go either Infinity Edge or Essence Reaver. If you are super ahead you can get a Cloak of Agility to get 50% Critical chance and sell it then later if you don't need it anymore or turn it into an if you are winning.

-When do I go Attack Speed Mid lane?
I only go Berserker's Greaves when I'm like 3/0 and got money for Long Sword and Ruby Crystal as well. My only thought about going for Attack speed is after Trinity Force if you're super ahead (6/0/3 f.ex) then either go for Zeal into Statikk Shiv or Phantom Dancer if you have 1300g or for Stinger if you have only 1100g. Why Stinger you ask? Because it gives CD which gives you bonus AD from Transcendence. That's why I can always recommend going for ! Last option would be Wit's End against Full AP.
League of Legends Build Guide Author Kartagoo
Kartagoo Garen Guide
A Guide how I reached Master in S9 with Garen
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