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Garen Build Guide by EvilSquirelKing

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League of Legends Build Guide Author EvilSquirelKing

Garen: a fresh look

EvilSquirelKing Last updated on October 19, 2014
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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: 9

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

Threats to Garen with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Akali Garen is her worst fear. Or should be. Akali features an asortment of abilites that do heavy damage, however you can stop all of those with your q, leaving her useless. also, if she's hiding in her smoke screen, you can keep spinning inside it to hurt her.
Jax Jax's main goal is to get a good stun in and then AA you down. It's easy to not let him do this, if you silence and spin into him, he won't be able to stun you until you already backed off. If you just want to pick at him, hit him with your q and then run off, he can't jump back. Once you pick him dry, finish him with your combo.
Nasus Be mean to Nasus. Be nasty. Get in his mug and show him whose boss, poke at him and hurt him and pry him off his farm. Make sure you save your q for when he withers you, as it will shrug it right off. Try to silence right before he uses his ult so he can't use it, and finish him with your ult.
Lee Sin Blind and now mute as well, lee sin will have a hard time fighting you off. You can take a way his big escapes with a silence, and if you lock him down when he's low you can finish him with your ult easily.
Renekton His damage is heavily in his abilities, along with his only escape, and you can take that away with silence. Don't hesitate to spin and poke at him, it will be hard for him to dish it back. Be confident in this matchup. Try to Silence him just before he ults, similar to Nasus, so he can't use it and proceed finish with your ult.
Irelia Irelia can be taken easily with garen. The best way to do it is wait for her to make the mistake of using equilibrium when she is higher health, then use q and go to town. Get attack speed reduction like warden's early, it helps with the true damage.
Zed Zed likes to zoom around willy nilly with his fancy abilities. Take him to man mode, lock him down with your silence, and burst him down while he is squishy with your ult. Active your w right as mark of death is about to apply damage and watch his face as it barely does anything.
Udyr A good way to fight Udyr is to lock him into a stance he probably didn't want to stay in long, like bear, so he can't switch. I'm not sure if you can 1v1 him full health, but he shouldn't be too menacing.
Master Yi Unless master Yi is 30/0/0, you can take him. Wait for him to meditate and cancel it with your q. Then shut down his lifesteal with ignite and take him to the house with your ult. Warden's will definitely help, as it will slow down his passive.
Katarina Wait for Katarina to ult, then render her useless with your silence. Not only will it stop, but she will be useless for the next couple seconds as well. If she's low, you can finish her off with your combo.
Miss Fortune You can press the off button on her ult with your silence. Burst her down from there.
Malzahar Wait for him to use his ult so you can silence it. He's weak from there, so it's a good time to take him down.
Nunu Wait for him to ult before you use your q. In addition, you can shrug off his big snowball with your q as well.
Fiddlesticks Fiddlesticks is beaten by wards. If you have enough wards, you will catch him channeling his ult, and if you have the reflexes, you can stop it with your silence. Also, if he is draining you, you can silence that too.
Karthus If you manage to catch Karthus in the act of using his ult, you can silence it. Bear in mind you can't do it during his passive.
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Welcome to my garen guide! That's what I say this is by the way. A guide. It definitely is one, but its sort of a two way guide. According to multiple scientific studies, the best way to learn something is by teaching it to others. It commits it to long-term memory more efficiently than any other form of learning. Hopefully, for me, I can teach you a thing or two about garen, and can simultaneously teach myself. We are both learning hear, so this should be a fun experience. let's get started.

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my qualifications

You would probably like to no what gives me the right to write a guide about garen. Well here are some things to look at.

lots of pictures

I'm no diamond stud, but I'd like to think that I know somethings about this champion and the game.

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Pros / Cons

Let's talk about what Garen exceeds and falls off at.


*Garen is mobile and hard to lockdown, he breaks free of most cc easier than other champs.
*Garen can really put the hurt on ability reliant and channeling champions.
*Save certain matchups, garen was built to win early game.
*He's not overly reliant on items, like say, a Jax, as he has a silence and does missing health damage. Not to say that you don't need to farm your butt off.
*Garen has a nice mix of tankiness and damage.
*Garen can execute like no other champ which often either forces a recall or gets kills.
Garen is very good at gap closing


*Garen suffers early game against pokey, ranged champs.
*Garen does not have the same CC as other tanky fighters do.
*Garen can be kited easily by those who know how.
*DoT really tears into garen.
*Garen uses a lot of health regen, meaning grevious wounds will make him suffer.
*Garen can't do too much to AA reliant champs, as he has a silence , but no blind.

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Rune options

I personally run two pages on garen. One for against ad, and one against ap. Here are those pages.

Against AD

greater mark of armor penetration Greater Mark of armor penetration
Greater seal of armor
Greater glyph of cooldown reduction
Greater quintessence of armor

Against AP

greater mark of armor penetration Greater Mark of armor penetration
Greater seal of health
Greater glyph of magic resist
Greater quintessence of cooldown reduction

Rune explanations:
If you want to be useful as garen, you are going to need cd reduction. You don't use mana, so the faster you can use your spells, the better.

Depending on the matchup, it is nice to have these defensive boosts early on. Runes are mainly only useful early however, so that's why should pick the stat based on your matchup.

Besides armor, health is the next best rune for garen.

greater mark of armor penetration Garen doesn't have many chances to get damage items, so these runes can prove to be irreplaceable.

honorable mention:

If you find yourself having trouble farming early with garen, these are a good option. However, Judgment usually makes that relatively easy.

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There are a few key masteries that you need to focus on getting:

this badboy combined with your q and merc treads puts your CC resistance into overdrive.

perseverance combined with your passive, Perseverance (lel) goes quite well for sustain.

This rune is op atm, especially for champs like garen. Add it to an item like Spirit Visage and watch the health flow in.

Yes man. This rune is the real deal for garen. You really only need one point in it too, as 20% will be about the health amount that you will ult at. The damage increase isn't huge, but as far as runes go, its enormous.

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Summoner Spells

Let’s talk about Summoner spells. First, I’ll show my favorites, and I’ll work down to other viable options from there.
Flash is love. Flash is life.

Ok so here's the important debatable part. 99/100 times, I will take one of these two spells as my second spell. If your teammates already have taken a couple ignites, you are not going to need another one. It would be best to take teleport so you can provide presence in other places, and get back to your island of a lane quickly. But if your teammates took 0-1 ignites, go ahead and take it. Ignite is a big part of garen's execution combo. It combines really well with his ult and the rest of his kit to secure kills early. Other factors to take in are: Look at your matchup. Who are you going against top? is it going to be a difficult lane where you will mostly have to play passive? then take teleport, so you aren't entirely pushed out when you get poked and you can still be there to farm. Is it going to be an easy lane that you are sure you can win ? Take ignite, and keep it ready for 6 so you can unleash your combo. Garen's Glorious Groovy Combo is gone over in detail below.

Maybe spells

Let's go down the list of other maybe spells for garen.

Heal is not a bad option on garen. It gives a nice boost of health, but that's not what i like most about it. the Movement speed bonus goes well with his Decisive Strike and it can help to make a big gap close.
I would not tell you that you should run ghost on garen. I wouldn't stop you though either. Along with your q, you are going to be getting some huge speed. But speed isn't everything, and you should really be fast enough already. If you are a big fan of ghost though, be my guest.
If the enemy team is really super duper charged in cc, you may consider this. Just remember that if you are against slows, you already have a mini cleanse in your kit for slows, which is Decisive Strike, but by no means is it as powerful as cleanse. Use at your discretion.
I don't see this being too useful on garen. The only times you may consider using it is if you are against a very AA reliant lane opponent, and your support didn't bring it.

Don't Bother

These are summoner spells that i would really just say no to as garen. But i am not an expert.
This used to be an underrated SS, but it isn't good for garen, and ever since it's mini version came out it's almost been rendered irrelevant. If you're a champ like Ziggs Lux or Xerath, it can prove to be effective. But you are garen, so i wouldn't really bother.
This SS spell just doesn't work anymore. The CD is way too long, you may use it 2-3 times a game if you're lucky. Your goal is to not to die anyways right? And besides, chances are this spell will not be up when you need it. Its just all around a bad spell. I could be wrong though.
This is probably not your best bet for garen. If you need to brace for damage, your w should be what you go to normally. It's not bad if you are against someone with big pokey ults like or , but you really don't need it.
leave it for the jungler.
if you don't understand why this is bad for garen, i would be concerned for your understanding of the game.

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let's talk about what to build on garen.

starting items:

this is your best bet for garen, starting. It covers everything and gives you useful health regen.

you may want to take this if you want to get Ninja Tabi asap, especially against champs with AA, as it will help alot against them

With a lane opponent like Teemo, high in ap and poke this is going to be what you go to. Back for potions and, as soon as you can, Spectre's Cowl.

item's i don't get:

You already have the speed early, with your q. The times when you do need speed early, it provides it. BoS can wait til your second back.

Don't fall for this silliness. Sure they give health regen, and that's good on garen, but these don't provide much and they take up space. You won't be able to turn them into anything good for quite some time. If you want the regen early, go to shield.


You need this item. The only reason i might say otherwise is if they literally have five champions that do magic damage only. It goes super duper well with your Judgment and it gives some very basic stats.

This is a wonderful item for garen. It gives great basic stats, including cd, health, MR, and health regen. The unique passive really kicks your passive into overdrive. The only reason you shouldn't get this item is if they have absolutely no magic damage at all.

From here, his kit is oddly malleable. first, let's pick some boots.

With these you will be very mobile, and you will be able to lead the charge for your allies as they follow in your manly wake. Great for slow teammates.

An offensive choice for garen, these give some great cd. You won't always need them though, as there are other viable options for garen that give him CD as well. Bear in mind that you can not exceed 40% when choosing items.

mercury treads Garen's CC resistance game is ridiculous, and these just help that even more. Choose these if you are against a CC and/or AP heavy team.

These are great, especially against AD and AA heavy teams. Use them in lane against champs like Jax and Irelia.

Usually with any of these boots (except boots of swiftness), you will get homegaurd, however i have heard good arguments for alacrity and even furor. For big lockdown and stickiness, get a Frozen Mallet along with furor.

More Defensive Items:

This item is standard issue against teams with AD. Its especially effective in lane against AA reliant champs, as it gives attack speed reduction. It's even more effective against champions that use true damage like Master Yi and Irelia because attack speed reduction is the only thing that can really stop the amount of true damage a champion can dish out.

Only if they have a LOT of ad, and ad that is fed too, like a fed adc.

Only if they have a LOT of ap. Otherwise, never choose this over Spirit Visage.

This is a neat, safe for the whole team item. It gives your teammates some useful mr and health regen, and even an active shield. It gives you some extra cd and health as well. team friendly garen.

Now let's talk about garen's offensive choices.

First off, if you are the only tank, or your team isn't doing very well, you shouldn't even be looking here. Save maybe for The Black Cleaver, the rest of these items should be bought when you are ahead.

ap options: pick 1-2

let's talk about this item. This item is exciting. where do I begin. Well for starters, it gives a neat little cd boost. But that's not important. What's important is the active on this baby. let's take a look. Unique: Deals 15% of target champion's maximum health in magic damage and applies the debuff, Doom. Doom amplifies all magic damage that champion takes by 20% for 4 seconds. 90 second cooldown (750 range). The active first does 15% of their maximum health, a sizable little chunck. Then from there, all magic damage that champion takes within the next 4 seconds is amplified by 20%. This creates Garen's Glorious Groovy Combo. Start in with your Decisive Strike, spin at them to wear down health, then Ignite, dfg and ult. The dfg will amplify your ults damage massivley, as your ult does magic damage. so it will look like q>e>ignite>dfg>r. boom boom bang.

try to not sweat the unnecessary mana. This is a good garen item in a lot of respects. It has a spellblade slow, which goes great with his ult. it has some good cd and armor as well. Its worth considering for an offensive item. Not top tier though.

you are going to get two things from this item. One: a nice movement speed bonus. Two: a big spellblade that is feuled by your dfg. the 200 hundred ap from it and your lich bane will give you a nice helping of burst to go with your Glorious Groovy Combo.

ad options: pick 1-2

If you're only going to get one offensive item for garen, get this one. If you've even been to a breakfast house, this is like ordering the sampler meal. It gives you a little bit of everything you want. AD, CD, health, and some deep armor pen. It's useful for your team too, as that armor pen works for the unique passive works for all sources. All around good item.

The most underrated garen item ever. It gives a huge health boost which garen loves, and a nice damage boost. But it's that passive man. Your q will not only silence, but slow the target as well. If you really want to stick to somebody, get one of these bad boys.

this is a good item for garen. the cleave really adds to well to the aoe of your spin, and it bolsters your already huge sustain. Also throws in some huge damage bonuses with the 75 ad. It's even better if you use the active as well. great for lane clearing, and just overall good offensive item.

this item is debatable on garen. only get it if you didn't get the merc treads, or else the tenacity will go to waste. It gives cd and huge movement speed, along with a good ad boost. The only problem is you really shouldn't be trying to get AS on garen, and zephyr gives a lot of it. It's better to focus on cd and doing damage with your abilities. nonetheless, this item can start to do quite a bit of damage when combined with an item like hydra. His AAs will clear lane waves and will do some sizeable aoe in teamfights. It's not the best, but it's viable.

zeke's herald this item gives a huge cd boost, if you missed it in other places, along with some health. If you have a fed adc or multiple ad champs on your team, consider getting one of these as the aura will be helpful for them.

seriously, consider getting one of these. It gives some decent health and the ability to be able to see your opponents is extremely critical to this game. Garen is a tank first, a fighter second. Getting some wards won't hurt his game. It will help your team immensely.

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Garen's spells

Let's talk about garen's spells

Garen's sustain. Some people wonder why garen can stay in lane for so long: this is why. You will won't to keep this active as much as possible by not taking damage from enemy champions. This can be hard if you are against somebody with poke and/or DoT ( ). If you're running low on health, backing off and using a potion can really be all you need. It's worth noting that at level 11, non epic monsters won't shut off the passive, and at level 16, it gets a huge boost. At level 11, feel free to take a couple of non epic jungle camps, as they will be relatively easy to take.

Garen's multipurpose Swiss army knife. It can be used to close big gaps, silence abilities, shrug off slows, stop channel spells, escape, and more. If you are against someone like Warwick or Malzahar or Katarina, you would be wise to remember to save this spell for when they start using their ult. A good way to make an escape if you are being chased is, turn around very quickly, hit your pursuer with your q, then turn around again and use the remaining speeed boost from the spell to get out. Even though you may use the spell and hit someone with it, the speed boost will persist for the full allotted time. This is important to remember.

Press w to activate man mode. You can already shrug off slows with your q, and you can beat off other forms of CC with this spell and a pair of merc treads as well. Ain't nobody gonna CC garen. Ain't nobody. It's also worth noting that you gain a passive bonus to your bonus Armor and magic resist. It's not huge numbers, but it's definitely helpful. for example, if you get two standard armor items on garen, Randuin's Omen and Sunfire Cape, which give 70 armor and 45 armor respectivley, that's 115 armor. add 20% to that and its 23 armor for a total of 138 armor. Now say you were against an ad team with a yi and the like, throw on a Thornmail, and that's a 43 armor boost, a whole nother SF cape worth of armor, which totals out to a very pretty 258 bonus armors.

Your main source of damage, #SpinToWin should always be what you max out first. Its an AoE that you can use while your moving. Not many champions can do this, and even fewer can do it with the level of damage that garen can. Judgment is going to be your main source of farming. I'll talk about farming and laning phase a bit more later. When using this ability, try to encompass as many things in its radius as you can. A good strategy is while you are spinning on the minions to farm them, try to include the enemy champion in the radius by just the tip of the area. you will be farming, trading, and stating your presence all at once. whether you are chasing or being chased by a melee champ, try to do the same thing, keep them right in the tip of the area of damage, but not letting them touch you. It can prove to be very effective.

This is it. This is how garen wins lanes and executes everything from squishes to tanks. Lets take in an depth look into the mechanics behind this spell. The base damage is 175/350/ 525. Big. but it gets bigger {;)} lets take a look at the missing health damage. It goes up by 1 point of damage for every 3.5/3/2.5 health the target is missing. This means at higher levels, you are going to be getting a lot more 1 points of damage. Lets look at your average tank. We will ignore armor, magic resist, armor penetration, and magic penetration for now to keep the calculation simple. It's fair to say late game sej could have 4000 health. Let's say you use your ultimate when she is at 800 health. First, the base damage. 525. ouch. Now lets add the rest. sejuani is missing 3200 health. So to find the damage, we will divide the missing health by 2.5. That's the ratio at max level. That's a staggering 1280 damage! Add it to our base, 525, and that's 1805 damage. Sejuani was overkilled by 1000 damage. However, bear in mind that she would not have died at 1805 health. At 1805 health, its a different calculation. the amount of missing health is less, so the damage is less. Her missing health would be 2195, 2195 divided by 2.5 is 878. add that to the 525 base and thats 1403. Sejuani survives. and this is just a very flat example. There are so many other factors that need to be taken into account: abilites, runes, masteries, resistances. Chances are the damage won't really be anywhere near this high. It just shows the calculation. It's worth noting that his ult does take into account magic pen and magic resistance. Most people think they should build armor against garen, so you will kind of sneak around their resistances. In my opinion, it is not best to get magic penetration on garen. It does enough damage as it is, and the bonus from magic penetration wont help you much in the long run. This is debatable however.

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farming/ laning

Depending on your matchup, laning and farming with Garen can either be a breeze, or hell.

Hard Matchups: If your against one of these little pains , or similar champs, it can be very difficult. You can't get near the minions because they will just push you off. Naturally, if you can't attack them, the lane will come towards your turret. Try to just let that happen. When the lane does come towards you, savor every little scrumptious minion. Don't let a single one get away, and last hit them all. The thing about Judgment is that yes it farms, but it farms very quickly. Every minion in the radius will die quickly, and your minions will advance. If you can, train yourself to farm with his AA and even his Decisive Strike. His q is very easy to last hit with, and the cooldown is relatively short.

level six surprise: It's a really good idea that, if your enemy is at about 60% health, go all in at level 6. Right as you hit six. q>e>ignite>r can be done very quickly and can bring down most champions at six. act like you're being passive. then just right as you hit six, charge them with your q .

Lane Control: If you want to push and advance the lane, simply get all the minions in the radius of your and go to town. Garen has very good lane control, and can dictate how advanced the waves are fairly easily. Once you knock down one wave, proceed to use q to quickly reach the next wave. If there is a big minion, it is a good idea to q it, then spin the whole wave to take it quickly.
The biggest difficulty with farming can be overusing your pushing power. Garen is very good at pushing. But sometimes he can overpush by clearing waves too quickly, especially during laning phase. Again, training yourself to last hit with AA and q can be helpful so the lane doesn't go to far and you end up getting ganked.

Experience, Healing, and Chilling: Something useful that a lot of people don't have enabled is the abiltiy to see experience combat text. You can turn this on at the very bottom of the interface options that are located in the main options during game. When you have this enabled, it allows you to see when you are close enough to the radius of the death of the minion to still recieve the experience. As long as you are still standing in that radius, you will still be gaining levels, even if you did't last hit the minion. Stand in this radius that you will find by having the combat text enabled, and let your passive heal you. This is a good way to chill for a bit while the lane comes back towards you.

Using Your Abilities: It's good to remember also that you can spam your abilities, as you don't use mana! use them at the most necessary and unnecessary times. Use them to farm, use them to harass, use them in teamfights, use them in 1v1, use them whenever. The more times you have used your abilities throughout the game, the more efficient and helpful you have been. The only exception to this is your ult. The CD is huge, so use it wisely. Also, bear in mind that you can q turrets for a nice extra bit of damage output towards them.

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Your top goals in team fights:

  1. initiate the fight.
  2. Defend your carries by peeling and silencing.
  3. execute squishy carries with your ult.
  4. lay on AoE damage with your spin.

That's the order you should focus on doing it too. Do not, i repeat, Do not go wandering off away from your team all willy nilly trying to take down some squishy carry. Stay with your team. If someone comes at your carries, get in there mug, silence them and spin at them. Be the first one into the fight, lead the charge. You should be the one initiating, hopefully scaring some people into wasting some spells, and generally soaking up damage. If the carries get close by and there low, a quick ult can take them by surprise and turn the tide of the batle in your favor. Use your ult wisely. Your ult should always be a kill, nothing less. If you didn't get a kill with your ult, you did it wrong. it's purpose is to execute, and it should be used on whoever is doing the damage. A bad ult is using it on the 60% health Malphite. A good ult is using it on the low health Tristana or Vayne. These kinds of champs will sometimes put too much faith in their lifesteals to heal them back up at semi low health. Take these opportunities to surprise them. Once you get a good execute in, if your carry is still alive, the battle should go in your favor from there. If there are stragglers, a good q can catch up to and finish off a slow escapee. But be smart about it. Chasing isn't always wise, as it can waste time you could've spent taking a turret or dragon.
In conclusion, follow the points listed above, and you will be golden in teamfights.

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In conclusion

That's it guys! I covered a lot of points here and I know there are a lot of mistakes. This guide isn't perfect, but nothing is, and a perfect world would be boring.

If you are here, it's because you want to learn about a champ and the game. That's awesome because I do too! If you have any thoughts, little tiny or big thoughts, or questions, or just any sort of thing to say about this guide, please, don't hesitate to put it in the comments. I will be closely watching and monitoring and updating and generally just making this guide gets better for the time being. I will be leaving C2V on, because I really want to make this guide better by hearing from comments and contributions from others. I want to hear everything you have to say! No matter how critical! I hope that by making this guide, and possibly helping others to learn, I will learn myself.