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Garen Build Guide by YoORaiser

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League of Legends Build Guide Author YoORaiser

All Game powner Garen

YoORaiser Last updated on March 5, 2012
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Top Lane
Ranked #12 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Build finished 05/03/2012
I don't have time to uptdate (maybe monthly).

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Hello I'm YoORaiser and this is my first build guide for Garen.

Sorry i'm writing this build so rate him when i finish it.
i published it for a friend but u all can look too.

First of all, his lore :
Throughout Valoran, the resolve of Demacia's military is alternately celebrated or despised, but always respected. Their ''zero tolerance'' moral code is strictly upheld by civilians and soldiers alike. In combat, this means Demacian troops may not make excuses, flee, or surrender under any circumstance. These principles are espoused to their forces by unrivaled demagogues who lead by example. Garen, the valiant warrior who bears the title ''the Might of Demacia'', is the paradigm to which these leaders are compared. Thousands of great heroes have risen and fallen on the bloody battlefields between Demacia and its preeminent rival, Noxus. It was beneath their mighty banners of war that Garen first met steel with Katarina, the Sinister Blade. The infantrymen who beheld this event (and survived) commented that it seemed as though the two were locked in a mortal waltz against a symphony of clashing blades.

Garen, the pride of the Demacian military and leader of the Dauntless Vanguard, returned from this battle breathless for the first time in his career, though some speculate that this was due to reasons other than exhaustion. The plausibility of these rumors was bolstered when, in every instance thereafter, Garen seized the opportunity to encounter the Sinister Blade again. A paragon of Demacian ethic, Garen never entertained such allegations, for he knew others couldn't understand. Even simply the pursuit of a worthy opponent on the battlefield is, to a true warrior, the reason to rise each morning. The promise of one, particularly so beautifully and diametrically opposed, is the validation of his existence.

''The most effective way to kill an opponent is to slice through the man next to him.'' - Garen, on front line strategy.

Garen is an melee tanky fighter who rush toward ennemy team and deal a lot of damage in early game.
He was my first pick when i started LOL.
I can say that it is not the best build ever but he is very easy to build it (in my opinion ^^).
I tried a lot of build on MOBAFire (top rated or not) and thank to all their build i create my own build.
And sorry for my english. i'm studying it very hard XD.

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Hero Skill

Decisive Strike (DS)
cooldown 12/11/10/9/8
Garen's next attack strikes a vital area of his foe, dealing bonus damage and silencing them.

Garen gains 15/20/25/30/35% Movement Speed for 4 seconds.
His next melee attack deals 30/45/60/75/90 (+140% of his total attack damage) physical damage and silences his target for 2.5 seconds.

His initiation skill. Very good skill against mage hero and u can use it for harass solo top ennemy hero.
This skill can proc item effect like frozen mallet,red buff and lifesteal.
This skill don't proc critical strike but his ratio damage can replace it.
TIPS: in the brush, when a hero is coming toward u, lend first an auto-attack before your DS for more damage ;).
Make good use of your movement speed advantage when u start some gank.

cooldown 30/27/24/21/18
Garen's kills increase his armor and magic resistance. He may also activate this ability to give himself a damage-reducing shield.

Passive: Garen's armor and magic resist are permanently increased by 0.5 every time he kills an enemy unit. This bonus is maxed at 25.

Active: Garen places a defensive shield on himself for the next 3 seconds, decreasing all damage taken by 20/24/28/32/36%.

Your tank skill.just take one point at level 4 for your passive.
25 bonus armor and magic resist is great in mid game.
In team fight, i must activate it when u see incoming aoe damage toward u.
Other example i use Courage for tower dive and tank turret damage for my teammate to ensure kills.
A lot of Garen dont use this skill and max only DS and Judgement.
Garen dont have effective skill against AD hero and sometimes u must protect your teammate by absorbing damage.

cooldown 13/12/11/10/9
Garen performs a dance of death with his sword, dealing damage around him for 3 seconds, and reducing the duration of slows by 50%. Garen removes any slow effects on him at the start of the dance.

Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, reducing the duration of slows by 50% and dealing 50/90/130/170/210 (+140% of his bonus attack damage) physical damage to nearby enemies every second. Garen removes any slow effects on him when casting Judgment.

The bonus damage is further increased by Garen's critical strike chance. Damage to minions is reduced by 50%.

Your main dps skill.
Spin to damage as much champions as u can in team fight.
This skill can proc critical strike to do more damage.
if u can see, i highlight the bonus ratio of Judgement. it has a great potential at early game but his effectiveness decrease in mid/late game.
So this skill is very item dependant because his ratio depends on bonus damage and not raw attack damage.
Garen must build some attack damage to improve his judgement in mid/late game.

Demacian Justice (DJ)
cooldown 140/120/100
Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to deal a finishing blow to an enemy champion that deals damage based upon how much life his target has missing.

Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to attempt to execute an enemy champion, dealing 175/350/525 magic damage plus 1 damage for every 3.5/3/2.5 health they are missing.

Garen signature skill.
the more hp the ennemy lost, the more damage DJ will cause.
In team fight choose wisely who you will ulti.
If your team works properly, u can ensure a kill with Garen.
Use it when an ennemy has below 25%-35% HP.

Garen will regenerate 0.5% of his maximum health per second after not receiving damage for 7 seconds.

Your lane skill.
this skill grants u lot of regen so that u can solo lane against 2 hero top.

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Garen TANK or DPS ?

I'm asking this question all the time when i started playing Garen.
At the beginning, i played Garen full tank with +200Armor and +200Magic Resist (sunfire cape + force of nature + randuin + quicksilver slash ...) and so i'm unkillable during team fight.
With this build u can tank a lot of damage and u can tower for 30sec.
instead of great tank, u lack of base damage dealt during team fight.
Your Decisive Strike sucks, your Judgment sucks too (no bonus damage).
You don't have enough good CC like the other tank.
If your allies dealt enough damage, your can be effective with your Demacian Justice but it's called KS !!!! XD

Garen full tank is completely useless ! He's like a spectator in game

Next i try Garen full DPS.
All your gameplay will change drastically.
Now you became your team Carry.
U must build max damage, critical chance&damage and your AS.
U cant initiate team fight because you are too squishy (like all build AD).
This build leave you very very very very ... squishy for Garen and he cant compete with other strong AD like Tryndamere or Master YI.
His main disable (DS) isn't useful against a Strong AD who based his DPS on auto-attack.
Strong AP who keep distance of Garen can 2 shot skill a Garen full DPS (Malzahar, Annie or Brand).

Garen full DPS can be viable if you play like a ***** or gay (ninja bush or backside rush).
NB: I remind you all that Garen is the Might Of Demacia and not the Gay Of Demacia.

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Garen Tank/DPS

You cant play Garen full TANK !
You cant play Garen Full DPS !
What Garen i will play?

Again i tried other build and others until i find a balance between TANK and DPS and now i find it !

MY Build Structure :
- ITEM Build :
40%TANK | 60%DPS
- Masteries Build :
30%TANK | 70%DPS
- Runes Build :
50%TANK | 50%DPS

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My mastery Build is 21/9/0 :

I use all 21 mastery points in OFFENSE:
- Brute Force will improve your early game
- Alacrity improves your lack of AS
- Weapon Expertise give you % Armor Penetration which is useful in late game
- Deadliness + Lethality are masteries you must get for Judgment
- and the best Executioner for your Demacian Justice .... IMBA

And 9 mastery points in DEFENSE:
- Armor and MR for defense (synergy with Courage)
- Durability + Veteran's Scars for hp and buff tanky

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8.5 Bonus damage early.
Boost your early game against the ennemy solo top.
For example, your Judgment level 1 deal 50dps (+30 bonus dps).
If your ennemy take all Judgment at level 1 it deal 240 total damage and u can do more with epic critical luck ^^.
i dont take Greater Mark of Desolation because it wont increase your flat damage in eartly game.

Greater Seal of DefenseGreater Seal of Defense
24 Armor and 24 Magic Resistance at level 18.
Again great synergy with Courage.
total Armor + total MagicR + your active Courage = Great Tank during team fight.

Greater Quintessence of Desolation
10 Armor Penetration.
especially against Tank like Malphite or Shen.
Stacking some Armor Penetration give you almost True Damage against AD like Ashe or Caitlyn who got 40-60 armor at level 18.

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Summoner Spells

My Sommuner Spells suggestion:

Flash ... nothing to say. The most used S. Spell in League Of Legend. U can flash out for escape early game gank or catch hero over walls.
I also use my flash for initiate if a mage hero try to harass my teammate in tower siege phase (attack or defense).
Exhaust with mastery upgrade u can disable the ad carry all the team fight.
Great synergy with your spin Judgment.
the greatest advantage of Exhaust isn't the slow (yes a little ^^) but the damage reduction (very good against hard DPS).

Before the big change log about masteries, I never took Ignite with Garen.
But now an improved Ignite with Summoner's Wrath provide you bonus damage on cooldown.
This change will give you another finisher skill.
The choice between Exhaust and Ignite also depends on teammates summoners spells :
If you already got 2 or 3 Exhaust and 0 Ignite in your team, take Ignite.


U can replace Flash with this but u cant flee easily with Ghost.
Flash is better.

Useful in solo top laning but I prefer keep my S.Spells on ganking than laning.

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Items Build

In this part, I will explain my item build and why I choose it:

Start item

or x3

Choose it wisely. It depend on the solo ennemy hero.
Garen is very effective in early game so dont waste it.
Prefer Doran Blade for HP and +10 AD which boost your early laning.
Sometimes i take Boot Of Speed for solo ennemy hero with more MS than me or they got lot of escape skill ( Jax with Leap Strike or Tryndamere with Spinning Slash).
In very rare case i take Doran's Shield against better solo top than me like ranked Jarvan IV or ranked Irelia.

Core Item in early/mid game


With this core item you got 43 AD 30 armor and 39 MR.
After you build it, purchase your The Brutalizer for more damage.
If you dominate your lane, you can easily reach 3000 gold before your first Recall and directly buy The Brutalizer instead of a second Doran's Blade.
Aegis of the Legion and your passive maxed you got 52 and 64 MR (without runes) which is very viable tank item.
And if you activate your Courage in team fight u got 70%-78% absorb damage.

Item mid game

After purchase your core item, buy your Avarice Blade.
Use the item passive for farming your B. F. Sword instead of upgrade the Youmuu's Ghostblade. After this, if u like, you have the choice to use the passive again to farm your Phage or upgrade the Youmuu's Ghostblade.
I take Mercury's Treads for MR but sometimes u can change you boot depends of ennemy team of course.
After all this, you can upgrade your Infinity Edge first and your Frozen Mallet next.
WHY Infinity Edge and Frozen Mallet?
Infinity Edge is an item u must get for garen because of Judgment. This skill proc critical strike so Infinity Edge will greatly improve his damage output.
Frozen Mallet is also very important to get. will provide you 700 HP and his slow help you deal more damage because the enemy can't kite you during Judgment.

Item in late game


Depends on ennemy Team.
Atma's Impaler against team with lot of AD DPS (give you armor and good bonus damage).
Hexdrinker against team with lot of magic DPS or AP nuker (great magic shield with bonus damage).
I prefer take Atma's Impaler all the time because u reach more than 317 total damage.

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Garen is an easy hero to play with.
First of all, the game start at the loading screen.
Analyse the enemy team and identify the enemy mid lane, the enemy jungler and most of it the enemy solo top.
Choose your start items that depends on enemy solo top.
You can choose in first skill Decisive Strike or Judgment depending on your enemy.
- Decisive Strike against easy hero that you can dominate him/her.
- Judgment against hero like Jax and Fiora because the can counter you Decisive Strike.

First meet with the excepted hero.
Just last hit the creep and observe his attitude.

If he just last hit like you and think that laning phase will be farming, be agressive.
Lend him some Decisive Strike on him if he stand next to you or camp near the last hit.
if u play like that, you have some hp advantage and you will domanite your lane.
Use your domination by standing between the enemy creep and the enemy tower (Brush for stealth) and deny him for gaining EXP.

If he play agressive like you. try him and be more agressive than him.
look how much he deals damage toward u : normally you are more tanky than the enemy due to your runes and masteries and you also deal a lot of damage.
If he deals too much damage ( Riven or Irelia) play more safier and call for gank and until that Perseverance will keep you alive for the laning phase.

you can start ganking when u reach you Courage passive full and u got you Aegis of the Legion.
You are tanky in mid game with this item : you reach altmost 100/100 armor and magic resist at level 8/9.
I didn't say that you are the tank but if your gank failed and you must flee with the mate (your carry or your mage), tank and absorb the damage for you carry to escape.
Due to your lack of CC, Attract the enemy attention by dealing damage as much damage as you can to your pursuers.
Garen is very good at ganking and he's a great bruiser during team fight (if you deal good damage ^^).
I saw some Garen who kill his early/mid game by farming his warmog and his atma during the first 20 min ... such a waste.
Heavy farming is for ranged carry and you dont need so much money to be effective.

During this phase your damage output will decrease so its time for Infinity Edge !!!
Team fight win + Avarice Blade passive = easy farm
When you got it, your Judgment will improve so much and it deals more damage than your ulti.
I farm this item now 'cause, in early game, if you rush the B.F. Sword you are too squishy.
You can build your Infinity Edge when you like. My build isn't perfect : ot's just a guide.
After this, if you lack money, spin for farm some lane and finish your Frozen Mallet and build your Atma's Impaler.
Advice : Don't forget the active of Youmuu's Ghostblade, this fill your lack of AS during team fight.

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Thanks for looking my build and note it if you like ^^.
i'm pleased too see 2k visitor in my build.

Ty mate!
Meet you on the Rift !