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Garen Build Guide by PowerfulPotato

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League of Legends Build Guide Author PowerfulPotato

Bead OP Garen [Updated for 5.16]

PowerfulPotato Last updated on June 4, 2015
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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: 4

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 24


Utility: 2

Threats to Garen with this build

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Threat Champion Notes
Teemo little bitch that will poke you down to stop your passive. Back off and try to retain as much farm as possible. Don't engage. He will blind you and you'll get a shroom to the face.
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Rejuvenation bead combines brilliantly with Garen's passive in order to give enough sustain to never have to back. He becomes a force to be reckoned with later in the game due to lane presence - leading to more XP and higher farm. In the New Tank meta burst damage is becoming rarer and rarer and so it makes sense to build for sustained damage and escape from potential CC and minimising the effects of this. He excels at pushing towers because he doesn't have to back away completely - he simply retreats for half a minute under minion presence fully regened and can be built with tower pushing items to completely crush the lane partner and the enemy nexus.

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Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction

Greater Mark of Precision

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Seal of Scaling Armor

The more you ult and q with Garen the better. Proper use of the 2 usualy result in a kill. Therefore I like to get some quick cooldown reduction by the end of the game. However, most of the tank items you want to build do not provide too much cooldown reduction. This is the perfect place to get that cooldown for free.

CD quints as well as the CD glyphs are used to bring cooldown to a total of 15%. Combined with a Black Cleaver this provides a total of 35% cooldown. 5% in the masteries provides the total 40% Cooldown reduction need to shout Damacia every 50 seconds at max level.

Hybrid penetration runes might seem weird when armor penetration runes provide greater armor pen value, but Garen's ult actually works off of magic damage. If you can maximise the damage of your ult you will win alot more fights. A failed ult can often result in escapes or possible death if you decided to all in. The magic pen is in the runes because it would be an ineffective use of item slots to purchase magic penetration. Some armor is obviously still needed, so hybrid was the best option instead of half of each.
The reason for the scaling armor runes instead of flat is because by the time you reach level 6 they have a higher value. This would be negligible on other champs but because Garen receives an extra 20% bonus on the armor provided as well as an amazing mid game it makes sense to get scaling. Some flats are still taken to survive the early game poke.

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4 points in cooldown are taken to reach the 40% cooldown cap with the masteries and items. 2 points in utility are used because the movement speed is very useful when combined with Garen's decisive. It allows you to chase down most targets - very useful considering the silence once you reach them will stop most escapes. General tank masteries are taken. There isn't enough points to have both armor and MR at the same time because health regeneration and CC resist is simply too important; so you'll need to switch between the 2 depending on enemy laner and team comp.

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The idea of the build is to abuse Garen's passive as well as his passive on Courage. These two abilites provide Garen natural tankiness that can be built further upon. The following build order allows flexibility in every stage of the game.

Double Rejuvenation beads provide good regeneration ensuring that Garen never has to back. You are almost guaranteed to not dominate the lane, but you have high security that you will sustain similar levels of farm and you can therefore make sure that you can abuse your mid game once you hit six - when the passive champion level scaling makes Garen OP. His passive will upgrade per champion level and the stomping only really stops later on at around level 14 due to the extra armor received by the 20% bonus on the W.

  • Alternate Start
    Cloth Armor is a good alternate start for Garen as the item will build into essential items later. Rejuvenation beads are preferable because you get to the early game items earlier but cloth armor provides more security against heavy burst AD matchups where you need to live to get your passive working.

    Yes, that's right. Two more rejuvenation beads.If you can afford it (which you probably will) buy a long sword with it as it builds into the later built tiamat. It will give you immense sustain in lane that lets you farm up and out-trade opponents. You might lose individual fights but if you can make sure you dont die, you won't lose the battle. Simply avoid champion damage for a few seconds in lane with these items and you'll win the trade automatically due to regen.
  • Third Back
    Tiamat provides good means for farming as well as combining two beads for later item purchase. Using auto-attack resets will make you win the trade as your q will prevent ability use and you can simply slap each other to win. Make sure you get out early at this point in the game, though, because you aren't tanky enough to trade abilities.
  • If forced to back (death etc) Intermediary
    This was hard to explain in a short title, so it requires some explanation. Use two of the rejuvenation beads already purchased to make this, if you die before you wanted to back. Only purchase if you are forced to back early or if you run out of items to build whilst aiming for a bigger item but need some earlier stats as they will soon build into the Warmog's. It is quite cheap for the health it provides.
  • Lifesteal/Movespeed 20 mins
    At around 20 mins you should have built these two items as they are essential at this point in the game. The silence on your q makes the lifesteal useful for trades because it basically means you trade 10% better than your opponent does if you have similar damages. Opponents start buying boots now and you want to be able to chase down everyone.
  • Essential - Rush
    Warmog's allows immense lane pressure and you can split push for the entire game if you are too far behind. Just back off for a while from fights and your passive and Warmog's as well as some lifesteal on minions will provide regen similar to 28 health/second at around 30 mins. It is the most efficient item for health regen and pure health. Armor and Magic Resist makes every piece of health worth more and so the 800 health is well worth it once tanky items are built.
  • Cheap Armor/MR
    Easy. You need some more speed so buy one of the two. If the lane partner is all AD purchase ninja tabi and you will get some good tank from it due to the 10% reduction on hits. Mercury's treads is useful if the late game arrived early and you have to roam against a team that includes heavy CC. It is useful in teamfights as your job is to draw focus and to silence important (and squishy) AP targets that can often otherwise keep you away.
  • After Boots, finish
    After the boots have been built, finish the ravenous hydra using the scepter already built and start on the zz'rot portal or the ohmwrecker by purchasing the raptor cloak.
  • Mid/Late game - 40 mins
    At this point in the game objective pushing is very important as your team begins to gain DPS and your adc can really destroy towers. An ohmwrecker or portal is very useful for pushing. At full build a potral will give (at least) 400 damage to every first and fourth minion. Ohmwrecker is generally more useful but against heavy AP the portal provides some much needed MR. A beneficial side effect is also the runner passive on it allowing for your team to catch off guard enemies quickly and for you to aid team-mates more quickly.
  • Late game
    A Cleaver is an essential item on Garen because it provides 20% cooldown reduction allowing maximum DPS and silences. You reach 40% CD once combined with runes and masteries. Recent changes to Black Cleaver, allowing your E to proc it, and because of your tankiness 6 hits are almost GARENteed - allowing armor shredding that your whole team can use and abuse to deal quick damage to what would normally be tanks.
  • Late game 2
    The Randuin's is very useful very late game where you start to fall off slightly. The utility provided by the slow is incredible for escapes, teamfights and catching enemies and so is preferable to alternatives. The large amount of armor is useful at this point in the game - but in the rare time that the opponents team comp is mostly AP (or being carried by AP) a banshee's veil will provide similar utility as well as MR.

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Generic Top laner spells. TP allows map presence everywhere where your silence is an invaluable tool. Flash leads to quick kills with q->ult on low health targets. The q secures the kill as the target is silenced and can't use abilities to escape.

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Pros / Cons


+ Hard to counter
+ Abusable Passive
+ Massive Pushing power late game
+ Versatile - Can build out of enemy team comp
+ Ultimate makes mid game very strong
+ Very easy to play!
+ Rejuvenation Beads


- Damage falls off late game as he finds it harder to reach his ultimate in time
- If enemy team builds into enough damage late game the passive becomes useless
- Lack of burst damage at later levels
- Poor scaling