Garen Build Guide by FABFAN
Garen: All the Basics and Possibilities [Matchup and Macro]
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Runes: Conq + Resolve (Teamfight)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Champion Build Guide
Who am I?
Hi everyone, I’m FABFAN on the EUW Server I start League of Legends in season 3 and I’m a Garen OTP since I start the game, I'm rarely playing ranked I was only doing my placement in season 4 and 5 as silver 2 & 1 but when I really tried to invest into it in season 6 I hit platinium pretty easily, I didn't really wanted to climb higher after that until season 9 to see if I can reach diamond I managed to hit Plat 1 but sadly the season was over right after I hit that rank.
If you want more info about me on league this is my OP.GG:
I mainly make Garen Montages on my Youtube channel but I'm thinking about making other type of video on him, my most popular Montage was the one on the Demacia Vice Skin.
I also got the opportunity to make some montage for Fsat, a big thanks to him it was a honor.
If you want to see my youtube channel here it is, I’m French but I do my best to have a decent English.
Visit FABFAN's Youtube channel
When I start to play a new game I always want to play a character with a heroic visual, I like to incarnate a hero who want to protect the others, I also always play a warrior class character and Swords are my favorite weapon.
League wasn’t a exception and when I start the tutorial the game proposed me Garen and then I see his Splashart who just got the perfect design of a hero for me.
I didn’t even know what his kit was I already locked him.
I also discover Riven in the free rotation and I really like her gameplay aswell I wasn’t decide what champ will be my main yet.
Some weeks later after a lot of games with Garen in Dominion (RIP) because I wanted some Influence Points (Blue Essences nowadays) to unlock Riven, I decided to choose Garen as my Main in the end, because his visual and his lore is just the kind of character I wanted to play.
Why did I make this guide?
You probably know Fsat's Guide the best Garen one in all Mobafire and some of you know that Riste is working on his one aswell.
Sadly Fsat guide (for now) start to be a little bit outdated because I know he got less time at the moment and Riste has a lot of thing to deal with before to finish is own guide.
I also noticed that a lot of Garen's players (especially the newer) on the Discord and Reddit are lost with Garen since he got his rework in the end of season 9 + the change of season 10 so I decide to make my own guide to help them.
My goal is to make a guide who can help newer Garen's player by giving them a good base but also to help people who already play him for a fair amount of time and struggle to improve.
I know I'm not a diamond player but I have 7 years of Garen's experience with a pretty good rank overall, I tried every imaginable build possible to see what can work on him and I learn everything from the 3 Garen's icon, MarineRevenge, Fsat and Riste during all theses years to become better and I'm pretty sure I can share you something that can help you today.
You can found me on the Garen Mains Discord, I highly recommend you to joining it, it a really great server and everyone is here to help when someone want to improve on Garen.
Join Garen Mains Discord Server
You can also found me on reddit I mostly only talk on the Garen one, I made the banner of it btw^^
Visit Garen Mains Reddit
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Garen, The Might Of Demacia
Garen is a Juggernaut, a subclass made to deal a lot of damage while having a natural tankyness but lack in mobility and utility in exchange, Kitting and Chain CC are their main threat but if they managed to be in melee range they become a big problem for their enemy.
Juggernaut deal constant damage over the time, but Garen is a exception here, indeed he is the only Bursty Juggernaut in the game which make him different from all his cammarades.
Garen is also designed to be a beginner champion which make him a good choice if you want to learn the other aspects on the game than just managed to hit your spells correctly but in exchange you become very limited in options the higher you climb in soloQ so be perfect in macro and decision making is crucial.
Garen got a lot of variation in his builds that depend mostly on your preference so I will share you all the possibility that I learn.
|PERSEVERANCE (Passive): After 8 second of not taking damage from enemy champions, turrets or epic monsters Garen will regenerate himself a % of his Maximum Health every 5 sec.|
DECISIVE STRIKE (Q): Decisive Strike is Garen’s utility spell but also a good damage dealer.
When activated he will cleansed all the slow on himself and gain 30% bonus Movement Speed for a short time and his next Auto Attack will deal Bonus Physical Damage and silenced the Target, he will also lunges forwards it.
Garen’s defense ability, it very powerful if you got good reaction timing.
Passively when Garen will kill a units (Minion, Champion, Ward, Jungle’s Monster, summon etc.), he will gain 0.25 Armor and Magic Resistance permanently, you can reach a maximum amount of 30 resistances which required you to kill 120 Units in total, after being full stacked Garen resistance will be increased for 10%.
When you actived it Garen will reduced incoming damage for 30% for a few seconds.
For the first 0.75 sec he will gain a Shield and 60% tenacity which is the main reason why you want to use that spell, you can disable reduced a hard CC or nullified a burst which can be game changer at all state of the game.
Garen’s mains damage source ability this spell is kind of unique in league believe it or not, it an AoE who deal physical damage over 3 sec like a DoT and it can Crit for 33% more damage.
When activated Garen will spin for 3 sec dealing physical damage around him, enemy champion who got hit 6 times will have their armor reduced by 25% for 6 seconds (refreshed after every Judgment’s hit).
Every 25% attack speed he will spin 1 more time than usual (the duration is still 3 sec no matter what).
Judgment will also deal 25% more damage to the nearest target, the sword's icon you see on the enemy is the one currently affected.
DEMACIAN JUSTICE (R):
Demacian Justice is a executer and a powerful one.
When activated Garen will call the power of Demacia to execute the target after a castime of 0.5 second it will deal true damage to it.
The damage scale with enemy missing %HP it can totally nuke someone in the enemy team if they are low enough, It become more powerful every time you rank it up.
+ A strong Executer
+ Can get a lot of resistances in Midgame
+ Good Waveclear
+ Very versatile in his builds
+ Can Split and Teamfight
+ Very good agaisnt melee squishy champions.
- No Hard CC|
- Kitable to the death
- No Range ability
- No healing in combat
- Very low utility
- Struggle against Tank
- Be manaless make some items not gold efficient on him
- Very limited compared to the other champions.
Garen’s Powerspikes depend on his Levels and Items like a lot of champions but also on the Attack Speed stat for Judgment in early.
Conqueror is the most common Keystone on Garen because it the only one who allow him to trade in lane, since every ticks of Judgment apply a stack of conqueror Garen is one of the best champion to fully proc the rune.
NOTE: The healing is not reduced for AoE Ability which mean the healing from Judgment's damage are not reduced to 33%
✦ Phase Rush|
Phase Rush is a rune more oriented on a scaling playstyle, it also give you a good sticking potential, the scaling is better than Conqueror by far but your laning phase will drasticly be weaker and you have to get Bami's Cinder or Ironspike Whip to proc it.
OTHER KEYSTONES USABLE BY GAREN:
|Fleet Footwork||Fleet Footwork give a decent amount of sustain and a fair amount of movespeed, it can be good if your goal is to survived the lane, but pass midgame you feel like the other keystones would have provided more value.|
|Predator||Predator was one of the best Garen keystone in the past, sadly Riot complety gutted it and dare to say it was a buff, some still use it vs ranged matchup nowaday but I only see it good if you are playing Garen Jungle.|
Like Phase Rush, Garen can't proc the rune on his own he need a item for that, in Electrocute case you want to rush Ironspike Whip and use Decisive Strike + Judgment + Ironspike Whip's active to instant proc the rune. ( Stridebreaker also work)
Bami's Cinder also work but you will loose a lot of damage since this rune scale on AD.
|Grasp Of The Undying||Personnaly I don't really like this keystone, because pass the laning phase it become very hard (to not say impossible) to proc it, however the damage and the bonus HP it give in early are noticable and if you like maxing Decisive Strike first and play a Hit & Run playstyle it totally viable but you can't do any extended trade, Grasp of the Undying required you to stay in combat for 4 seconds and then do a auto attack on a enemy champion which is not the main thing you do as Garen while Conqueror give you more value every time you deal any instance of damage and allow you some sort of extended trade.|
I tried to make this rune work after Predator nerf, on the theory it feel really good since you can swap with any summ you want, sadly on practice they are a lot of inconvenience:
- You fight like you had no keystone in lane compare to your opponent
- On short game you will have the chance to change your summoners 1-2 times per game
- You have some restriction before switching like to not be in combat and you must swap to 3 summoner spells before returning to one you used before.
Precision doesn't give a lot of choice for Garen but the few runes you can use here are really strong, this tree is powerful as a primary mostly because of Conqueror indeed the minor runes synergize quite well for the users of that keystone.
The only rune usable for garen in the first row of that tree but also the best one in my opinion.
After getting a kill or a assist, you will restore a part of your missing health (and some bonus gold on top of that), it will save you in a lot of scenario, when you are in 1v2, if you are towerdiving, if you are in teamfight, if you got a DoT on you etc., when you are going Precision you will always take this rune.
Since Legend: Alacrity doesn't count for Judgment and the fact Garen is not really a Auto Attack oriented champion so Legend: Bloodline is not worth it either, Legend: Tenacity is the only choice you had in the second row but that good, you don't have that dilema of "Should I build Mercury's Treads because the enemy team got some hard CC but they are also majorly AD?" anymore since you will always get 30% tenacity for free.
A lot of Garen player do the mistake to take Coup de Grace here, but in reality Last Stand is better in every way, I played a lot of game with both and I can tell you that this one give more value.
Last Stand amplified your damage the more you are low on health which happend a lot of time in toplane while Coup de Grace required YOUR enemy to be low enough on health but when it happen they are in execution range for Demacian Justice and since it deal true damage it can't be amplified.
Last Stand however will proc everytime you want to trade which mean your Auto Attacks, Decisive Strike and Judgment will be amplified everytime.
Domination is most likely run as a primary tree only for Predator, as a secondary tree if you want to play a really aggro playstyle you can give it a try but in my opinion the other trees give more value.
Most of the time when you run that tree you will choose Cheap Shot in the first row for more damage in the early game and it really noticable and still relevent in mid game versus squishy target.
Cheap Shot deal bonus True damage on the target you hit if this one got impared movement or ACTIONS.
That mean Silence count so Garen combo Decisive Strike + Judgment will trigger the rune everytime.
I don't really use it personally because Cheap Shot feel better in my opinion but if you prefer an extra sustain you can give it a try.
A part of every damage you deal against enemy champion will heal you,combine <ith Conqueror you can have a sort of healing in combat but keep in mind that Ravenous Hunter only heal for 33% effectiveness on Judgment since it a AoE. If you feel confident and don't need the other tree go for it.
Ingenious Hunter is THE rune you want when you are using Predator when fully stacked the cooldown of the keystone is legit non existant and if you also build items who got a Cooldown (active or passive) like Youmuu's Ghostblade or Guardian Angel you will feel the difference.
If you are a roamer player, you will like this rune combine with Dead Man's Plate it make your rotation or help to you join your team for a teamfight faster, sadly it doesn't help to catch ranged champion since you will lose the bonus movespeed when you are in combat.
If you prefer to have Demacian Justice more often since Garen is very relient on it to get a kill but I don't think it really necessary.
Sorcery is a tree mainly made for scaling and to give you some kind of utility.
That the reason why when you are playing with Phase Rush you tend to play more for the mid game than the early game, as a secondary tree it will give you some tools to compensate some Garen's weakness.
Sorcery is my favorite tree because of Nimbus Cloak, it give you a lot of chasing/escaping potential when you use a summoner’s spell I love that rune just because it allow me to catch a ranged champion in mid/lategame by just using Ignite on them.
Transcendence this season is quite busted, it give you free Ability Haste at level 5 and level 8 (+5 for both) and once you are level 11, every takedown refund a part of the cd on your non-ultimate ability ( Decisive Strike, Courage and Judgment) which can be gaem changer when you are in teamfight.
Celerity if you prefer to be faster and synergize well with Movespeed item like Dead Man's Plate or Stridebreaker, chossing between Celerity or Transcendence is more a playstyle preference.
Gathering Storm it the only choice you can take as a solo laner in the third row, if you choose Sorcery as a secondary tree and you prefer a scaling playstyle go for it, in my opinion it become relevant only after 30 min, but if it happend you will become really dangerous for the enemy team.
Resolve is a good challenger to Sorcery tree as a secondary and if you prefer playing with more defensive stats this one is made for you. This tree is mostly use to amplified Garen's defensive strengh.
If you like the splitpush playstyle and want to optimized it let me introduce you to Demolish, if you play really aggro in lane you can get some early plate and pass mid game on the sidelanes you will become the demolisher.
If you are confident to not need the stat from Conditioning or Overgrowth you can go for it.
Conditioning synergize very well with Garen’s Courage, you will gain a lot of Armor and Magic Resistance with just 1 defensive Item when full stacked. I consistently reach 150 armor by just buying Ninja Tabi which is crazy.
If you really want to optimized Garen vs ranged champion, I highly recommend you to take Second Wind, combine with Doran's Shield and if you play safe enough with Perseverance it will make your life easier to deal with them.
It's a very underestimate rune, since Garen’s Courage's shield only scale with Bonus HP, Overgrowth allow you to build a second damage item while still getting a reasonable shield power because by the time you will finish your mythic and get a second item, the rune will already give you +100-200 bonus HP.
If you are running Conqueror I don't recommend to take it because tenacity in this game stack MULTIPLICATIVELY which mean you will lost a lot of value since you will be running Legend: Tenacity, if you are not running Precision however it can sometime be a good choice but I feel like Unflinching is overrated on Garen.
Inspiration is for really experienced Garen’s players this tree is kind of full of surprise, I don’t use it personally at the moment but it was was my favorite tree some seasons ago and I recommend you to give it a try maybe it will give you what you need for some matchup/situation.
Add a Stopwatch in your inventory and become usable later in the game, it save you 300G if you planned to build Guardian Angel in the game + it allow you to use a technique only usable 1 time per game the Golden Spin.
Health Potion + Doran's Shield + Perseverance + Biscuit Delivery = THAT A LOT OF SUSTAIN.
Against an hard matchup it can make a big difference or allowing you to stay in lane after a bad trade, also you can combine it with Time Warp Tonic for a quick regen and surprised your enemy I call that technique "PRAISE THE BISCUIT".
Add a gimmick to Garen, when you use a Health Potion or a Biscuit, a part of the healing become instant, it even more powerful with Biscuits since their healing depend on your missing health, it like having a mini Darius's Decimate.
Doran's Shield with 1 potion is by far a very solid starter now in the current state of the game, against a ranged matchup it a must have and against melee it really good aswell it never a bad choice to take it.
OTHER POSSIBLE STARTER
Ruby crystal into 2 potions is a starter you can do if you play with Phase Rush to get Bami's Cinder more quickly or if you are confident enough to not need the regeneration health from Doran's Shield.
The classic ward, pass mid game they are still usefull since you need to know where the enemy team is before doing anything on the map.
Knowing where and when to place them will make all the differance (More info in the Vision section).
If you prefer flank with Garen I recommend you to give a try to Oracle Lens, or if you don't have already 2 other Oracle in your team you should take it to deny ennemy vision.
If you are against a stealth or a champion who land traps like Teemo this ward is mandatory.
If you don't want to face check and prefer stay on a safe distance you can go for this one, unlike the Stealth Ward you don't have the wards limit but in exchange they are visible for the enemy team.
Berserker's Greaves > More Spins
Berserker's Greaves give a important powerspike in term of damage, personally I take them most of time unless I'm in a really hard mathcup or behind.
Mercury's Treads > Tenacity
I rarely build it theses days because since now we can use Conqueror and got access to Legend: Tenacity + we already got Courage, Mercury's Treads feel overkill here, unless you are vs a Heavy AP AND CC Team you can considear it, but most of the time I prefer run Berserker's Greaves in that kind of situation.
Plated Steelcaps > Damage Reduction Against Auto Attacks
Vs a Heavy AD team who relly a lot on Auto Attacks, Plated Steelcaps can help you with that, against ranged champ you can rush it to make the lane easier or if you prefer a more defensive way in your boots choice.
Boots of swiftness > Slow resist
Sometime Boots of Swiftness can shine if you are vs a specific comp who rely a lot on slow, + it the boots who give the most amount of permanent flat Movespeed in the game.
Mythic Item Choice
With the Preseason 11 change, we now got a new Tier of Item called "Mythic", you can only build 1 of them per game and they are the core of your build, also you had to adapt your choice depend on the game that mean you will rarely build the same mythic everygame.
Mythic are supposed to be your First Item but it can also be delayed if needed, so for example you can sit on an component/another Item to get a specific powerspike and then build your mythic Item.
Stridebreaker purpose has been changed since the patch 11.13, before it was helping us to close the gap with ranged/mobile champ now it's purpose is to give us locking/sticking potential, so you want to build it when you need to accomplish that specific goal which will be quite common right now.|
The Item give a lot of good stat for Garen, AD, AS, HP, and Ability Haste which is already crazy but it also give you Bonus Movement Speed when you hit a enemy with physical damage, you will also gain more movement speed for every legendary item you build which is a really good bonus for our juggernaut.
Finally this item got a active, it will create an area around you who will slow and deal damage to any enemy, so that mean you can use it to add the third damage instance needed for Phase Rush / Electrocute.
The active also got a REALLY short cooldown (15 sec) and you can reduced it with Ability Haste on top of reducing it with runes like Ingenious Hunter.
Probably one of my favorite mythic Item at the moment and I highly recommand it if you like to splitpush.|
It will amplified Decisive Strike damage by dealing bonus physical damage who depend on the enemy MAX health and you will heal a part of the damage you deal if it a champion, it also give you free armor penetration for every legendary item you build, once you get that item Tank had to respect you if they don't they just die for free.
So yea it a perfect anti tank Item and it give an in combat sustain for Garen, even if it didn't give any Attack Speed, with Berserker's Greaves it will be largely enough and the build path is still really comfy you got a lot of HP and the power it give you in trade is colossal so you are pretty safe.
Q: Wait why do you recommand Divine Sunderer and not Trinity Force for splitpushing ?
A: Because Divine Sunderer give you more dueling power than Trinity Force BY FAR.
Sure Trinity Force will be better to take turret faster, but as a toplaner I feel like this mythic is lacking a lot on Garen when it about dueling in my opinion especially when you had to deal with more than 1 enemy which is a common scenario when you splitpush.
However I don't want to discourage anyone to try Trinity Force if it fit your way to play Garen go for it, and I might add it in the mythic section in the future.
In 2021 Goredrinker has started to be a new and strong playstyle in the Garen comunity, now it more niche but still an interesting option to consider.|
It's a good choice if what you want is survivability, but only take it when you are against another bruiser in lane AND if the enemy team comp has atleast 3 melee champion to be sure to get as much value as possible.
Keep in mind you can use the active to proc Phase Rush with Decisive Strike + Judgment + Goredrinker and the active also count for Conqueror's stacks.
At first you might struggle to exploit this mythic, it take me a couple of games before I finally start to understand how to make it work (like not use it directly to burst someone but keep it as a panic button to regen and survive for example).
Also I'm gonna answer to the question you are probably thinking.
Q: Are you not lacking of attack speed for Judgment?
A: Well in reality since you will be so hard to kill with that mythic, Berserker's Greaves give you enough spins to kill most of the squishy champion.
Also keep in mind that even if you can frontline more with that mythic, your goal is still to flank and get the backline (I let you check the teamfight section for more detail) wanting to frontline only is one of the trap you can fell as a Garen player.
Take your time if you want to mastered that mythic it's important and the result is worth it.
You can combine Goredrinker with Death's Dance when you are vs heavy AD comp, they will have a hard time to kill you and if you manage to get a takedown you will regen even more if the active wasn't enough, and of course Spirit Visage can amplified the healing for both if you still want more.
WARNING!!! Be carefull if the enemy team has grevious wound it can cost your life if you don't paid attention to it.
I recommend to build Prowler's Claw only if you are midlane because there more squishy champion here.|
It a active Item who give you a targeted dash (with a decent range) and will amplified the damage you deal to the target you have chosen.
It can seem weird to use it at the start but with the time you will start to really like it, once you get it against any squishy ranged champion you will be able to one burst them with the amplified damage.
The only cons of that mythic is the buildpath who is really risky, It mostly give you AD, Lethality, Ability Haste and more Lethality for every legendary Item you build which are good offensive stats for Garen but you have no HP until you build another item, if you are ahead/confident or know how to deal with a squishy Garen (for those who came from Marine's Schools) you can go for it and it really fun to use.
Compare to Stridebreaker the cd is longer (60 sec) and can't be reduced by ability haste (it can still be reduced by rune like Ingenious Hunter)
From all mythic dash Item Galeforce is the one with the biggest cd (90 sec and can only be reduced by rune) it has less range than Prowler's Claw but you can dash in any direction and it will deal magic damage to the nearest enemy (The damage scale with enemy's missing HP).|
The build path is also risky like Prowler's Claw but once you got it you got a pretty decent burst to remove any squishy target + a gapcloser and more movespeed for every legendary you build like Stridebreaker and because it give AD, Attack Speed and Crit Chance, this mythic open some option for crit build.
I recommend it when you need/want to be a engager for your team in teamfight.|
Turbo Chemtank is a active item who give you a big boost of Movement Speed when you walk torward ennemy champion and a AoE slow once you reach them this active also proc Glacial Augment.
It will also give you Ability Haste per legendary Item you build,
It got the Bami's Cinder passive which allow you to proc Phase Rush.
For the stats part, it give Magic resistance, Armor, a good amount of HP and Ability Haste.
Sunfire Aegis is a choice more oriented on waveclear while still having some tankyness, it will give you
magic resistance on top of having HP and Ability Haste and It also give Tenacity and Slow resistance per Legendary Item you build, combine with some rune and Item like Unflinching and Boots of Swiftness, it give some options against comp with heavy slow.|
It also got the Bami's Cinder passive who can be used to proc Phase Rush of course and this passive will be upgraded once you got that Mythic and the more you are fighting with a ennemy champion or epic monster the more damage it will deal,
once you reach the maximum ammount your auto attack will create a explosion which give you some AoE + some bonus damage.
This section is to list you every important component you can build and which one of them are good in specific situations.
With the Item change Sheen is even better, it doesn't give mana anymore so less waste and it cheaper !
If you like having burst you will like it since it can amplified your Decisive Strike damage by A LOT!
You can choose to upgrade it into Divine Sunderer or sit on it for Essence Reaver later and build another mythic instead.
Phage now is a really strong component compare to before.
Every time you will trade it will heal you like if you have a Health Potion activated so it even more stronger on Garen since you tend to do burst trade most of the time.
You want to prioritize that component when you build Divine Sunderer.
In fact that component is so powerful that you can buy it early even if it's not in the buildpath of the mythic you choose and sit on it, then later in the game you can upgrade it into Sterak's Gage.
Ironspike Whip is an active item who deal damage around you, this active can be used while using Judgment for an insane amount of waveclear and also count in the damage instance to proc Phase Rush which is really an interesting option.
You will run it when you planned to build Stridebreaker.
IMPORTANT: It a mythic component Item, that mean if another Mythic (component/Item) is builded you can't take it.
If you planned to build a mythic Tank Item you will always take Bami's Cinder first, it help you with the waveclear + it help you to proc Phase Rush with only Decisive Strike + Judgment since it add the third damage instance needed.
IMPORTANT: It a mythic component Item, that mean if another Mythic (component/Item) is builded you can't take it.
With the Preseason Change Zeal is Hyper Gold Efficient just by the stat so you can just sit on it to amplified Judgment and having some movespeed right after you get your mythic, once you reach Late game you can sell it for your last item or upgrade it into Rapid Firecannon.
Right now in the game a lot of new/reworked champ got a healing in combat in their kit so you need to consider Executioner's Calling when your are in champ select and build it very early if you are against one of them in lane, you also want to upgrade it later into Chempunk Chainsword for a more powerful Grevious Wound effect.
A HP Item who also give movespeed, obviously a good choice for Garen, this component is used to build Dead Man's Plate and Force of Nature so even if you don't know what kind of resistance you need, you can sit on it until you got a idea.
If you struggle against a AP Matchup who poke you a lot, you can time your first back on it if you are okay to delay your first item combine with Doran's Shield you will regen a lot of HP and it will make the matchup easier.
This component is only rushed vs specific champion (heavy AA/on-hit oriented with no sustain like Urgot) but it make the laning phase really unfair for them you will be able to nullified all their damage with just that component alone.
Probably my favorite Item in the game right now, Hullbreaker is an item specialised for splitpushing, I highly recommand you to build it as a second item especially if you go for Divine Sunderer as your mythic.
It give a big load of AD and HP which make this item really cost efficient by it's stat alone and the passive make you even more stronger.
When you are alone without any teammates nearby, you gain a huge bonus of armor and magic resistance (legit another Garen Courage's passive) and it doesn't end here, your cannon minion (and superminion) will become tankier and will deal more damage to towers.
This Item is a must have as a sidelaner, splitpushing is your most powerful tool to carry your games!
Sterak's Gage become a really interesting tool if you teamfight a lot, for every champion you fight or take damage from, it will heal you over time and the shield will become stronger, the shield will proc once you are low life which make it really consistant.
Death's Dance is an anti AD option and it's a strong tool if you prefer dueling, the bleed effect who delay the damage you take only work vs physical damage, but if you got a takedown you will restore a part of your maximum health and the delayed damage will also be canceled.
It give a lot of good stats for Garen (HP, AD and Ability Haste), I don't necessarily build it against tank because Garen has other option, HOWEVER it help vs shields because resistances are apply to shields in League which mean if you reduce the armor on an ennemy, his "effective shield" will be lower and that pretty huge especially against champion who build Immortal Shieldbow, that actually my main reason why I build Black Cleaver right now!
Wit's end give a lot of AD and Attack Speed at the same time on top of a good amount of magic resistance it a really good item for Garen if you want to amplified Judgment and having resistance against AP champ at the same time.
Combine with Dead Man's Plate you will be really fast if you need to roam a lot, also it can help you in teamfight to catch some squishy and mobile target.
However I don't recommend to build it if your main target is a frontliner because the lethality will not be efficient.
Tired of seeing your target survive to your Demacian Justice with 50hp?
Let me introduce you to The Collector, it a lethality and crit item who will execute enemy champion when they are under 5% health after one of your attacks ( Ignite and active item count) and you get bonus gold on top of it, however compare to the other crit option this one lack of attack speed which is an important stat for Garen damage so unless you already have enough of it you will rarely build it.
Edge of night
HP, Lethality and a Banshee's Veil's passive, vs Squishy comp you can build it if you need to avoid a specific ability or if you prefer to be on a defensive side but you still want to get some damage.
If you are against a heavy AD Comp and you know you will be the main target or you want to avoid any reset for a specific champ ( Master Yi, Darius, Katarina).
When you got Guardian Angel the enemy team had to use more resources than usual to take you down so you will buy more time in teamfight for your teammates to clean them up or to do something on the map (take a tower/drake/nashor etc), if you are splipushing.
Since Statikk Shiv is gone (RIP I will miss you), and Phantom Dancer is not usable by Garen, Rapid Firecannon seem to be the only good choice here for attack speed and crit chance, the movement speed and bonus range are also a nice little bonus.
Serylda's Grudge has the advantage to amplified all your damage without any condition compare to Black Cleaver who need to be stacked and it will add a slow on Judgment (AD Rylai dream come true).
Sadly this it's really expensive so it not an item you can afford everygame and I tend to prefer Lord Dominik's Regards if tank are my main problem.
Lord Dominik's Regards
I prefer build Lord Dominik's Regards because it cheaper than Serylda's Grudge, give 5% more penetration and it can amplified your damage further when the ennemy has more HP than you, which is the case when you fight a tank even if it just 500 more HP it enough to make a difference and even against squishier champion you will still deal a ton of damage.
I know it sound hard to believe but this item is so overloaded that it can work on Garen, I really recommend you to give it a try.
Against heavy healing champ ( Aatrox – Sylas - Soraka – Yuumi etc.) you will already buy Executioner's Calling for the Grievous wound effect early in the game but when you can, upgrade it into Chempunk Chainsword for a better Grevious wound effect when your enemy is under 50% HP.
Compare to Chempunk Chainsword it harder to proc the 60% Grevious wound effect since you need to auto attack 3 time, however Mortal Reminder's stats give a huge boost for Garen's damage.
Actually you can take it as a second item if you build a bruiser/tank mythic item the HP they give allow you to build a full damage item second (you can still try with a full damage mythic item but you will take a lot of risk).
Mortal Reminder allow you to invest into some crit build if you are really ahead or you can still stick on a more bruiserish build if you prefer/not feed enough in any case you will have a good value for boosting your damage.
This tank item is specialised to be an anticarry option, if you had to deal with a strong enemy, this item will help you.
You will have an active that let you choose an enemy champion you want to cursed, once you choose it, this one will gradually deal reduced damage to you until a certain cap is reached, after that the target will also have reduced tenacity so that mean as Garen your silence can last more than 1.5 sec which is huge to consider.
So far this item seem to be better to be purchased as a fourth/five or last item buying it earlier might not be the most opimised way to exploit it.
Also note that you have a cooldown to switch the curse to another target (and the curse has to be rebuild).
Dead Man's Plate
Dead Man's Plate is still a good option after the patch 11.13 , it give armor, HP and the movespeed it give is really helpfull + it give you a slow which is great since Garen is lacking of CC.
With the recent change Dead man plates now excel better in teamfighting than roaming since the ramp up is faster at the cost to give less movement speed than before and it actually deal more damage than before despite now it physical damage instead of magic.
The good thing about this is it give you the possibility to build it as a first item and then go for Sheen it was an old playstyle that Garen player were using before he get his rework in season 9, that playstyle is now back for people who liked it.
Against heavy crit comp ( Yasuo – Yone – any adc), the Damage Reduction on every Auto attack is really powerful and the slow area on the active also reduce their AD AND their crit damage which is huge.
It amplified Perseverance, all healing source that included rune like Conqueror, Items and even healing from allies ( Yuumi – Soraka, Heal etc.), it also amplified every shield you get ( Courage included)
It an active Item who will give you a BIG Shield on top of having even more resistance for every enemy who hit you, by this item alone you will gain so much survivability in teamfight.
I recommand to build it after you had builded a HP Item since the Item scale with your Bonus health so it not a great choice as a second Item unless you build a tank mythic.
Q: Where is Teleport?
A: Garen is a really bad user of Teleport and I don't recommend it on him especially in soloQ where you can't really rely on your teammates + you have to deal with not having Ignite and lose all your kill pressure and a potential lead.
GET A LEAD OR SURVIVED THE LANE
Your goal as any other toplaner is to gain a lead in lane or survived if you are against a hard matchup of course getting a lead is better since it give you a chance to carry the game.
I let you check the Matchup section for more detail but to give you a idea, Wave Management is the key since Garen is a very basic champion, he is limited with the base of the game and you had to mastered them.
I’m going to assume you already know the concept of slow pushing, freezing, minions rules etc.
If not I recommend you to check some videos like SkillCapped on Youtube if you want to learn these concepts.
Last hitting as Garen is important to get golds for your items like any other champion but also to stack Courage's passive.
Decisive Strike is really helpful since it got a Auto Attack reset, especially when it for a canon minion since you will deal bonus damage.
Don't use Judgment on the wave otherwise it will destroy your wave management and put you in a vunerable postion to get ganked.
However if your goal is to thin the wave or you want to push it, Judgment will be your best tool for that.
You want to trade for 3 reasons:
- To zoned your opponent and outfarming him
- To kill him of course
- To force your opponent to recall and having free control on the wave or get his tower.
Also you have to be carefull about the minion's wave and how to manipulate it, it will be your main tool to allow you to trade, wave manipulation is king in lane.
For trading you want your wave to be bigger than the ennemy one, so you had to know how to do a slow push, with a minion advantage your enemy had to take a lot of risk to fight back.
Classic Garen combo start with Decisive Strike then Judgment, versus some matchups you will prefer start your trade with Judgment for different reason (beneficiate the armor shred, bait a ability who can block your Decisive Strike like Fiora Riposte or Jax Counter Strike), in both case if you can start the trade with a Auto attack it even better.
After you land Judgment you don't want to go to far in the enemy side to not take too much damage from minions (if you land an auto attack or Decisive Strike at the start of the trade) and if your opponent's ability are gonna be up soon, it better to back of when your spin is about to end.
With Conqueror you can allow you some sort of extended trade but Garen's Auto attack are not the best, he doesn't have anything left when all his spells are on cooldown.
As you can see Garen doesn't have many way to fight but if you know how to play around cooldown (especially enemy one) and know how wave management work, you can win your lane pretty hard.
ROAMING AS A TOPLANER
Even if top is an Island our Role as the purpose to control all the topside of the map and the Midlane can be kind of be included.
To allow you to roam you need to gain what we called “Tempo” it the time who let you do whatever you want (recall and back on the lane, put some vision, and Roaming) meanwhile your opponent can’t contest you.
Q: How do we do that?
A: To gain that tempo all you need to do is crashing your minion wave under the enemy tower, then think about 3 possibility in order of priority.
- Can I ward?
Yes: Ward the river/enemy jungle (see the vision section for more details)
No: Then go to the second option.
- Did I need to recall?
Yes: Recall then
No: then DO to the next option
- Can I roam?
Yes: Then you can gank midlane if the enemy one is pushing, or steal a jungle camp from the enemy side then back to your lane, it doesn't matter if you didn't kill the midlaner because atleast you are putting some pressure on the map or if they are no camp to steal because you are giving extra information for your team on the jungler position.
Meanwhile you are doing all that, your opponent had to stay to last hit under tower or he will miss a bunch of gold and exp.
The bigger the wave you crash is, the more time you have.
Doing that is not only for helping mid it can also be used to help your jungler aswell to get the Rift scuttler in early game (we called that lane priority), it provide a good spot of vision, a tool for roaming faster but also a lot of exp and gold for your jungler this role is most of the time decided by the first 2 Rift scuttler , so yea just because of that you had impacted the jungle role.
Q: Should I split push or Teamfight with Garen?
A: As a toplaner you had to do both of them since there are the only tools you have to impact the game.
Still I think Garen is better at Splitpushing than Teamfighting.
SPLITPUSH FOR THE WIN
Your Role in mid and late game are played on the Sidelane (Toplane and Botlane) you will only going mid when both lanes are pushed in the enemy territory otherwise it too dangerous and you risk to get caught for free, of course that doesn’t mean you will never teamfight it had to happen at some point.
It exist 2 concepts that allow you to do both, theses concepts are called “Splitpushing” and “Split to group” (these concepts can be applied to every champ but since Garen can only apply the basic of the game I detailed it here).
HOW DID SIDELANING WORK?
If you didn’t know already for Sidelaning we use 3 zones.
Collection Zone (when a enemy wave is near to your tower it when you can go to collect the wave)
Neutral Zone (Between the Collection and Pressure Zone)
Pressure Zone (It when your wave is in the enemy territory)
Of course theses zones are reversed for your enemy.
Your collection zone is their pressure zone and you pressure zone is their collection zone.
The most easier to understand, the goal of that is to push as much as you can to get towers it put a lot of pressure and force the enemy team to send more people on you and let your team do whatever they want (in the best case getting objectives).
When to splitpushing?
First its better to start a splitpush or a split to group when there are a wave nearby one of your Sidelanes Towers (the collection zone).
Then you have to answer 2 questions:
- I am strong enough to 1v1 the toplaner opponent or even 1v2 (toplaner + jungler)?
- Did I know where the rest of the enemy team is?
If yes to both then it the best time to Splitpush and get some towers if the enemy team doesn’t respond they will lost a lot, meanwhile your team will be ahead in Gold (a fair amount), and if they try to stop you, your allies have free time to do whatever they want to impact the map.
If you have no vision on the enemy team or If you are not strong enough to 1v1 because of a hard matchup (a fed Fiora for example or because it the 10/0 adc who match you) or you can just not get a tower because there are playing to safe under it then it just better to apply the “Split To Group”.
It a kind of splitpushing but more focused on helping you team and be there for them at the right time, you can apply this strategy whenever you want in the game and it a good solution if you can’t go really far in the enemy territory without getting caught (and lose all your pressure).
To do a Split to group your goal is to send your wave in the enemy territory (The pressure zone) and then group with your team.
If you can’t 1v1 the enemy toplaner (the fed Fiora in our example) just push the wave into the neutral zone you will still gain some time and stay safe).
By applying this strategy 2 scenario can occur in the enemy team:
- They send nobody to collect the wave and lose gold and exp and get outscaled in the long run.
- They send someone to collect the wave.
By sending someone to collect a wave on a sidelane and you grouping with your team, you will get a number advantage and can try to contest anything (tower, drake , baron nashor , Jungle's camp etc.), by roaming it can happen you pick someone alone in the river who just ask to get killed for free, and the best of that, if a Teamfight had to appear it will not be a 5v5 but a 5v4 in your favor since you force someone on the enemy team to collect their wave.
Just remember, Teamfight in SoloQ are coinflip the only way to win them is to control as many factors as possible to make them unfair, vision and number advantage are kings for that.
Of course if it the Adc/AP Carry they are a big chance they are getting peeled by their frontline and support, when you play Garen in teamfight you play like a assassin (without having the tools, it like a Hard mode difficulty), the best way to catch the backline is by flanking them you can buy Oracle Lens to remove any visions and make your flank less predictable.
You can play Garen like a frontliner if you prefer but your actions will be very limited since you will rely on having an ally who can engage like Zac in your team.
Garen can also peel for his team but he is clearly not the best at it since his only CC is a Silence, if you are fighting a champ with a cast who can be interrupted like Katarina's Death Lotus it can be a good solution to stay near your carry and wait for her trying to engage and then silenced her to deny her Ultimate for example.
Remember the Game start when YOU spawn not when the minions collapse on your lane, you can choose to use your Stealth Ward really early to get extra information who can be game changer, this extra vision can be used to help you but also your team and prevent them from dying for free.
As a Toplaner here is the spots you can ward just before the minions collapse on your lane (around 1:25 or 1:30):
If you are Blue Side:
If you are Red Side:
The classic spot is in the river between the simple bush and the tribush the reason why is it give you vision on both path if the jungler came from the tribush or from the river.
If you know the enemy jungler is not starting topside you can ward the opposite buff to know when he will do it, don't try if they are champs who can cheese you like Darius or Olaf these kind of champ tend to wait you near the buff and they are far better than Garen level 1.
If a jungler who like to invade early like Shaco, Lee Sin, Evelynn etc. is in the game it better to ward you own buff, like that your jungler know it and you know you can get ganked aswell.
Q: When should I/not use this first Ward?
A: If you are vs a jungler who tend to gank lvl 2/3 using this ward is always good since they want to gank to be useful.
If you are vs a Powerfarming jungler ( Master Yi, Shyvana), that kind of jungler most of the time prefer to farm until they are 6 to try a gank, keeping your ward to use it later can be better.
Of course in SoloQ everything can happend a ganker who don’t want to gank until 6-7 a powerfarmer who gank right after their red etc. and a lot of SoloQ player tend to play a jungler who can gank than powerfarming, so I recommend to always use this first ward.
AFTER CRASHING A WAVE
Remember when I was talking about “Tempo” and all the possibility it give?
When you gain that tempo you can ward the river or even the enemy jungle to give more information to you and your team and make the future gank more predictable.
If you are Blue Side:
If you are Red Side:
Warding the river for the rift herald / baron nashor is mandatory, then you can ward the enemy jungle, you got more spots while being blue side since they are more jungles path.
On red side however you got more spots for Control Ward.
For both side the Control Ward in the pixel bush is normally put by the midlaner but since it soloQ you never know if they will ward it, so it better to be safe than sorry and ward it yourself this bush give a lot of information.
VISION AFTER THE LANING PHASE
This is where it start to be a lot more complex.
Your ward’s position will change depend on the game situation, I also include wards on botside since you will be playing on sidelanes at this state of the game.
The goal of theses wards is to give you information when you are splitpushing or start to take control of the enemy's jungle to avoid to get caugth and throw your lead.
The spots for the Control Ward are surprisingly rarely found by the enemy team since they don't expect to find it in these spots
The goal of theses ward is to keep vision on jungle entrance to stop being picked by the enemy team, especially your jungler who tend to came back in his jungle on auto-pilot and dying for free.
Q: Why some matchups are hyper detailed and some are not?
A: Because I didn't fight them in this season or didn't find a good strategy yet but I can still give you some tips against them, I will do my best to give you the most accurate advices to help you.
This section will be updated over the time, if you had any suggestions feel free.
I will keep this guide updated as much as possible and find a viable strategy against each matchup.
Also if a new playstyle / build had to appear I will add it.
Of course If you had any comments or suggestion to improve this guide, feel free I want to make it the more accurate as possible.
It's far from being completed but I will do my best.
Thanks you again and never forget why we fight fellow demacian!
28 January 2021
That incredible, this guide win the Mobafire Season 11 Guide Contest, Thanks you to everyone it would not have been possible without you, the season 11 just start but I'm looking forward to improve the guide (and myself) to help as many Garen player (new and veterent) as possible.
Thanks you again :)
30 January 2021
Update on the Matchup Section
- Some details or Item recommendation have been added for theses matchups
Camille (I told you like that you don't waste your time to find what new, I just recommend to ban her)
- The Item Ninja Tabi have been renamed into Plated Steelcaps in every Matchup where it was (RIP I will miss the name and god Riot Games it was anoying to do that pls don't don't that too often xD)
- Some typo and mistakes has been fixed (there are probably still a lot so I keep searching them)
16 February 2021
- Minor update on Gargoyle Stoneplate
5 March 2021
- Update on the Mythic bonus stat given by Goredrinker, Sunfire Aegis and Turbo Chemtank
- Minor change on Stridebreaker for more clarity on when to build it.
30 April 2021
Update on Goredrinker and Builds Example
- Goredrinker has been removed from the Mythic Item choice, sadly the Item can't be exploited well enough by Garen to be a viable choice overall.
That change also remove the "Teamfight Build Example".
- "VS Ranged Comp Example" has been updated to be more accurate with the most recent patch (11.9)
- "Dueling Build VS Bruiser/Tank Example" has been Renamed to "VS 4 Melee Comp Example" and updated to be more accurate with the most recent patch (11.9)
It probable that I remove other Mythic Item in the future depend how the game evolve since now we start to figured what can and cannot work, I want to give you the most accurate way to play Garen but also give you every tools possible to create your own playstyle.
8 May 2021
Update on the Items Section
- Warden's Mail was added in "Important Component"
Update on the Matchup Section
- Urgot Matchup has been updated
18 June 2021
In regards of the upcoming change in 11.13
In the next patch (11.13), a lot of things will change for Garen about his items, mostly Stridebreaker who will have it's purpose changed and a lot of his mobility option will overall be nerfed.
Even if it sound bad, since all the mobility has been nerfed for every class, it hard to tell how Garen's state will be.
Also this patch will bring 2 new Items that Garen will be able to use and they seem very powerful.
All of this in 1 patch will drastically change Garen's options, Toplane's state, and the Game in general, it will required a lot of test and I'm really excited to try theses changes (mainly the new splitpush item) even if I'm also worried about what will happend to our demacian soldier in high elo after this.
I will update the guide as fast as possible once I got enough data when the new patch is released.
25 June 2021
Major Update for the 11.13 patch
- "Conq + Resolve (Splitpush)" Runes Page has been added
- "Splitpush Build Example" has been added
- Some typo have been fixed Goredrinker is now no longer present.
The following items have been updated to be more accurate with the most recent patch (11.13):
- Divine Sunderer
- Turbo Chemtank
- Warden's Mail
- Black Cleaver
- The Collector
- Dead Man's Plate
- Hullbreaker has been added
- Anathema's Chains has been added
- Gwen has been added
Some matchup have been updated:
- Vs Ranged MU
8 July 2021
Update on the Matchup Section
Some matchup have been updated:
- Dr. Mundo
14 July 2021
Update on Garen's Kit Section
The section about Demacian Justice has been updated with a new graph to match with the recent buff + with detailed math about it.
The graph and the math have been done by Adventurous_Fan_8840 on reddit all the credit goes to that person.
21 September 2021
Update on the Item and Builds Example Section
- Goredrinker has been added to the mythic section, yep it actually cameback because it's now a viable choice for Garen.
- "VS Bruiser + 3 Melee Comp Example" has been added
- "VS 4 Melee Comp Example" has been changed into "VS Tank + 3 melee Comp Example"
18 October 2021
Fix on the "Phase Rush + Resolve" Rune Page + Gameplan for preseason 12
-Fix on the rune shard choice on the "Phase Rush + Resolve" Runes Page (1 defensive shard was missing)
About the preseason:
It pretty unlikely that I keep doing any update on this guide until THE NEXT SEASON hit live server, there will still be some fix (mostly on typo) but I will probably not list them in the changelog, however I know there are some new strategy developed in the Garen's community that I didn't tested yet but they seem really promising, so if I have the time I will add this in the guide if not I will try for the next season if it still work.
Personally I don't know if I should update the guide while we are in the preseason because a lot of things can change during that period which mean what I will wrote will become quickly outdated.
This is also where a lot of players are trying new stuff (me the first) and it hard to see if something can be really viable once the new seasons start and I don't want to spread misinformation.
If you want to tell me what you think about that, feel free to leave a comment.
I hope everything is doing well for you in your Garen journey in that end of season 11 and I see you in the next update ^^
1 January 2022
MAJOR UPDATE FOR SEASON 12
Happy New year everyone, hope this year will be great for you!
There is the big update on the guide to start season 12!
Update on the Item and Builds Example Section
- "VS Ranged Build Example" was renamed to "Teamfight Build Example"
- "VS BRUISER + 3 MELEE COMP EXAMPLE" was removed to not confuse everyone since Goredrinker is a niche mythic for Garen now.
- Flash & Ghost combo was added in the recommended summoner spells
Update on the Runes Section
- Glacial Augment was removed
Update on the Items Section
The following item have been updated:
- Death's Dance
- Black Cleaver
- Serylda's Grudge
- Force of Nature
- Gargoyle Stoneplate
- Quicksilver Sash has been removed
- Silvermere Dawn & Mercurial Scimitar were removed
- Lord Dominik's Regards was added
Update on the Summoner Spells Section
- Ghost was updated
Update on the Vision Section
- "Epic Monster" was removed since it wasn't really useful in term of advice
Update on the Matchup Section
- The banners have been remade for the Matchup and are faster to load
Matchup in general didn't change for Garen this season but I still keep an eye on it.
7 January 2022
The banner of the Runes section has been updated