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Garen Build Guide by Vinnyson

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This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Vinnyson

Demi-God Garen (A tanky-DPS build)

Vinnyson Last updated on October 3, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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OK, this is my first build on mobafire and I'm pretty anxious and at the same time nervous about what you, the viewers of my build, will say. To start, this is MY GAREN BUILD. I play him as a tanky-DPS and I don't care what anyone thinks but it works for me. I get kills like it was a DPS build so here goes. Enjoy!

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I get Armor Penetration Marks for a nice buff to my damage throughout the course of the game, imo it's the best thing a DPS or DPS derived role can get.

I have Armor Seals which might not cut it for some of you but for me it gives me more durability in the early game, where I need it most.

I have Cooldown Reduction Glyphs because Garen has a bit of a cooldown problem on all of his skills usually going 10 seconds or over. I take two cooldown reduction per level quints for the same reason as Glyphs and one flat health quint for more durability in the early game.

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For masteries I go 21 0 9. Why?

Because even though this is a tanky build the way I use Garen centralizes around him still being a DPS. Now some of you by now may be saying "oh you noob" for taking perseverance but I say "gtfo." I take Perseverance because even though Garen has no mana to regenerate, it still buffs his HP regen pretty nicely with a total of a 4% increase. This pairs pretty nice with his passive for the early and mid game and also goes well with Warmog's Armor regen bonus. I take a point in Utility Mastery so buffs can last longer.

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First of i take a Doran's Shield for some nice health, armor, and regen. After awhile you should have a kill or two so when you get a chance to recall get a Regrowth Pendant, Boots of Speed, and two health pots if you have enough.

When you get enough head back and rush the Sunfire Cape after Mercury's Treads. I take the Sunfire Cape because people underestimate it's real potential. This item gives you some great health and armor and a neat passive that deals 35 magic damage per second to enemies next to or near you. This isn't such a big deal but it really adds up and because you're a tank and don't deal out damage to largely yet, people tend to take their time with you. It also comes in handy when farming.

The next thing in your build is upgrading your Regrowth Pendant to a Warmog's Armor. I get warmog's for obvious reasons. With warmog's I get to over 3k health easy and I get a bonus on the health and regen warmog's gives when I kill anything. With warmog's at capped bonuses I just barely make it over 4k health with massive health regen. This is where it all depends on the enemy team. If the enemy team is AD heavy get a Thornmail after mog's. Thornmail combined with mog's makes the satisfying sight of watching Xin Zhao melt before your thornmail effect, sunfire passive, and spamming of your skills and attacks. If their team goes AP heavy get a Force of Nature. It gives the most magic resistance of any item in the game, a nice speed buff, even MORE regen, and a great passive that stacks with warmog's passive and Garen's unique passive. This is the part that will make you the TRUE MIGHT OF DEMACIA.

After you get either Thornmail or Force of Nature grab Atma's Impaler. Your base damage before Atma's should be around 100 or 110 but after you get Atma's it should jump to around 200 or 210, giving you a great damage stimulus that balances out the tank with the DPS.

This last part of the build is completely situational. Some good items to get are the thornmail or force of nature that you didn't get earlier if the enemy team is pretty balanced. You can get Hexdrinker (anti-Karthus item) or Randuin's Omen for complete AD or AP tanking. Frozen Mallet is a personal choice of mine because it comes in handy late game for post-teamfight chases and manhunts. Another good item to get here is Guardian Angel but imo its a waste of time and my reason for this will not be revealed in this build. By all means if you feel like you have a better idea for an item that can go in that slot be my guest; under no circumstances is this a iron rule of sequencing!

If you think you have a better idea on the build go ahead and give it a whirl or feel free to comment about it.

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Skill Sequence

I take the first point in Judgement. This skill is your bread and butter and should be considered as such; it's your main damage dealer. You want to max this skill asap and put points in it whenever you can.

I take the second point in Decisive Strike for a nice silence effect that lasts a pretty good while and as a fight initiator. Basically put a point in this any time you can't put one in Judgement. NOTE: this can also be used as an escape because it gives you a speed bonus as well.

At level four I take a point in Courage. This skill gives you insane damage reduction on most anything. At level one it's active gives you a 20% damage reduction on all incoming attacks and passively gives you some permanent armor and magic resist increases every time you kill something. I just put one point in this at level four and anytime I can't put one in Judgement or Decisive Strike.

Demacian Justice is your ultimate. It does a decent amount of set magic damage and is not buffed by increasing your base attack damage or magic damage. The only damage increase on this skill is from the amount of HP your opponent is MISSING! That means that this skill is not a skill like Xin Zhao's ult that does damage for a better damage output. THIS SKILL IS A FINISHER which basically means you use it to ensure a clean, quick kill and a a "table turner" sort of skill.

I cannot emphasize this enough and am greatly disappointed when I see Garen players use it in the beginning of the fight. What is the point of such an ultimate? This makes it almost certain you will get the kill without all the effort of having to chip the target down or going through the possibility of chasing your target down, creating a hassle. This skill is to end it quick and quietly.

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Summoner Spells

Personally I get Exhaust for obvious reasons and Ignite.

I get ignite because it pairs extremely well with Garen's ultimate. Sometimes you might overestimate the damage the ultimate might do, leaving your opponent with just a sliver of life left. With ignite, there is no such problem.

I know what some of you might think. "Where is the escape mechanism?" I personally don't use Ghost or Flash because I find Exhaust and Ignite more useful, BUT that doesn't mean that those aren't great skills to get for Garen.

Really most any skill is good to get with Garen, just some better than others.

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When you farm minion waves be sure to stand in the right place.

When the creep waves collide, the melee fighters line up in front and ranged fighters in back, leaving a space in between both where a nicely placed Judgement can be.

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Team Work

With this build your basic job is to be the one who starts the teamfight, taking the damage for your team while dealing some in return.

Your targets are the carries of the enemy team. You have to occupy them so they don't go and wreck your team. Remember to use your ultimate on important targets such as the enemy carry, tank, and main support when you see them low on health.

To start off you pick out the most viable target to initiate on with Decisive Strike and take him down with your team. Then move on to the next most suitable target.

Say there is a fed Kennen who is carrying the enemy team. To start, have your team focus him in a fight and you tag him with your silence then immediately transition into Judgement. Make sure to switch on Courage when you see yourself taking significant damage.

Keep the enemy team of your more vulnerable teammates through the same way. Engage with silence to cut off any incoming skills that may hurt your squishy friend then go straight into Judgement. The combined force of your skill spamming and sunfire (and thormail for dps) should deteriorate the attacker enough to ensure a kill with your ultimate or get him of you team.

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This basically concludes my guide to Garen, I hope this maybe useful to you and if you have any questions or suggestions on the guide feel free to post a comment in the comment section. hopefully one day I'll meet you on the Fields of Justice! THUMBS ME UP!