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Garen Build Guide by FABFAN

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Garen: All the Basics and Possibilities Pre-S11 [Matchup and

By FABFAN | Updated on November 23, 2020
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Runes: Conq + Sorcery

1 2 3
Precision
Conqueror
Triumph
Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Sorcery
Nimbus Cloak
Transcendence
Bonus:

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

1 2
The only summoner spells you need
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite

Ignite

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Champion Build Guide

Garen: All the Basics and Possibilities Pre-S11 [Matchup and

By FABFAN

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:
FABFAN's OP.GG

Youtube


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 a 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


Why did I become a Garen Main?


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.

Discord


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

Reddit


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
Visit FABFAN's Reddit Profile
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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.
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PASSIVE
ABILITY
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.

Tips about Perseverance

Q
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.

Tips about Decisive Strike


W
COURAGE (W):
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.

Tips about Courage

E
JUDGMENT (E):
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.

Tips about Judgment

R
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.


Tips about Demacian Justice
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PROS
+ Manaless
+ 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.
CONS
- 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.
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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.
-
At Level 5 when you buy Hearthbound Axe (if you planned to build Stridebreaker)
At Level 6 with 1 Dagger
When you buy Berserker's Greaves
Every time you rank up Demacian Justice (Level 6, 11 and 16)
Garen also got other powerspikes but they highly depend on how you oriented your build I let you check the Items section for more details.
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RECOMMENDED KEYSTONES:



CONQUEROR
Conqueror
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
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.

Electrocute 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. ( Goredrinker and 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.

Glacial Augment If you want to play a more Teamfight oriented playstyle or Garen support (yea it the thing did you know Hepta Strike?), Glacial Augment can be an interesting option for you, I recommend it if you planned to build Turbo Chemtank to make Garen a sort of an engager

Unsealed Spellbook 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

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.
TRIUMPH
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.

LEGEND: TENACITY
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.

LAST STAND
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

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.
CHEAP SHOT
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.

TASTE OF BLOOD
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.

RAVENOUS HUNTER
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
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.
RELENTLESS HUNTER
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.

ULTIMATE HUNTER
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

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.
NIMBUS CLAOK
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
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
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
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

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.
DEMOLISH
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
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.

SECOND WIND
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.

OVERGROWTH
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 Trinity Force and get your second item, the rune will already give you +100-200 bonus HP.

UNFLINCHING
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

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.
PERFECT TIMING
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.

BISCUIT DELIVERY
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".

TIME WARP TONIC
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.
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STARTER


Doran's Shield
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
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.



WARD CHOICE:

Warding Totem
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).
Oracle Lens
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.
Farsight Alteration
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.


BOOTS CHOICE:




-OR-



-OR-



-OR-

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 who is not included in the Mythic Item buildpath you choose and instead get a specific powerspike and once you got your mythic you can upgrade that component later into a legendary Item.


StrideBreaker
Stridebreaker is a mythic you want to run against Ranged matchup OR if you know you will get kited a lot because of the enemy teamcomp.

It 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 make you really mobile especially if you can combine it with Dead Man's Plate or Force of Nature.

Finally this item got a active, it will make you perform a mini dash and a AoE Slow who deal damage, so that mean you can use it to add the third damage instance needed for Phase Rush / Electrocute and since it a slow on an active you can also use it to proc Glacial Augment,that item open a lot of possibility.

The active also got a REALLY short cooldown (20 sec) and you can reduced it with Ability Haste on top of reducing it with runes like Ingenious Hunter.

Divine Sunderer
This season we finally got a anti tank item that Garen can use and it also work against any bruiser or matchup where you need to play a hit & run playstyle.

It will amplified Decisive Strike damage by dealing bonus physical damage 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.

Even if it didn't give any Attack Speed, the build path is still really comfy you got a lot of HP so you are pretty safe.

Goredrinker
If you planned to teamfight a lot I highly recommend you to take Goredrinker.
This item got a active who is like Darius's Decimate but easier to use, it will heal a part of your missing HP PER enemy champion.

When you use it against 1 enemy champion the heal is not crazy but if you hit 2 or more your survivability will drasticly increase.

Like Divine Sunderer, the build path stay really comfy even if it lack Attack Speed, it will give you a lot of HP, AD and Ability Haste but also more base regen and you will gain even more Ability Haste for every legendary Item you build.

Like Stridebreaker the active can be reduced by Ability Haste and can be use to proc rune like Phase Rush and Electrocute.

Be careful if you play against someone who got Grevious Wound it can nullified it pretty hard.

Prowler's claw
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 (except by rune like Ingenious Hunter)

Galeforce
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 of it give AD, Attack Speed and Crit Chance, this mythic open some option for crit build.

Turbo ChemTank
I recommend it when you need/want to be a engager for your team in teamfight or you need it because you are against a AP Ranged Matchup (hey Teemo).

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 got the Bami's Cinder passive which allow you to proc Phase Rush.
For the stats part, it give a bunch of Magic resistance, some Armor, a good amount of HP and Ability Haste.
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 open a lot of option against comp with heavy slow.

Sunfire Aegis
Sunfire Aegis is a choice more oriented on waveclear while still having some tankyness, it will give you armor and magic resistance on top of having HP and Ability Haste and even more Ability Haste per legendary Item you build, also the Bami's Cinder passive can be used to proc Phase Rush of course.

Talking about that passive this one is upgraded when you got that mythic Item and the more you are fighting with a enemy champion or epic monster the more damage it deal,
once you reach the maximum amount your auto attack will create a explosion which give you some AoE + some bonus damage.

IMPORTANT COMPONENT


This section is to list you every important component you can build and which one of them are good in specific situations.

Sheen
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
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 Goredrinker or 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
Ironspike Whip is a active Item who deal damage around you, this active can be used while using Judgment and also count in the damage instance to proc Phase Rush which is really an interesting option.
It also deal more damage to minion/jungle monster who are low life which combine with Judgment give you a insane amount of waveclear.
You will run it when you planned to build Goredrinker or Stridebreaker.

IMPORTANT: It a mythic component Item, that mean if another Mythic (component/Item) is builded you can't take it.

Bami's cinder
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.

Zeal
With the Preseason Change Zeal is now 110% 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.

Executioner's Calling
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.

Quicksilver Sash
Quicksilver Sash is now a interesting choice for garen without being a total waste because we can now upgrade it into Silvermere Dawn a QSS for bruiser !

Winged Moonplate
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.

Spectre's cowl
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.

OFFENSIVE LEGENDARY ITEM


Sterak's Gage
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
With the change of preseason Death's Dance become a anti AD Item and it's a better 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.


Black Cleaver
Personnaly I don't like Black Cleaver, but if it fit your playstyle you should go for it, It give a lot of good stats on Garen (HP, AD and Ability Haste) a lot of player prefer to built when they are 2+ Bruisers/Tanks but I feel like the armor shred doesn't help at all vs them, Serylda's Grudge is more valuable.


Wit's end
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.


Youmuu's Ghostblade
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.

The Collector
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 EVERY unit (minion, monster and champion) when they are under 5% health and you get bonus gold if a champion is executed, the amount of AD it give is also really big so it really a great offensive choice for Garen


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.

Guardian Angel
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.

Rapid Firecanon
Since Statikk Shiv is gone (RIP you will miss me), 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
If the frontline is the main problem Serylda's Grudge will be helpful, it better than Black Cleaver since all your damage will be amplified without any condition required and the best thing about it is it will add a slow on Judgment (AD Rylai dream come true).

Chempunk Chainsword
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.



Silvermere dawn / Mercurial Scimitar
We can now upgrade Quicksilver Sash into Silvermere Dawn or Mercurial Scimitar depend on what you want.

In Silvermere Dawn case, you will mostly take it when you need the magic resistance and the hp it give, the tenacity and the slow resistance is also a nice bonus.

In Mercurial Scimitar case, it because you need of the AD, the critical chance it give, and mostly because you want the movement speed boost version of that QSS.


DEFENSIVE LEGENDARY ITEM


Dead Man's Plate
Dead Man's Plate is a solid item, a lot of armor and HP and the movespeed it give is really helpfull + it give you a slow which is great since Garen is lacking of CC.

Randuin's Omen
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.

Spirit Visage
It amplified Perseverance, all healing source that included rune like Conqueror, Item like Goredrinker or even healing from allies ( Yuumi Soraka, Heal etc.), it also amplified every shield you get ( Courage included)

Force of Nature
It a Version of Dead Man's Plate but when you are against AP champion, it give you a good amount of Magic resistances, HP and Movespeed, you will also gain EVEN MORE Magic resistance and Movespeed every time you get hit by a ability.

Gargoyle Stoneplate
Gargoyle Stoneplate is now usable by Garen this season, it a 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.
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FLASH
Flash is mandatory on a lot of champion and since Garen is not mobile he need it more than anyone else, having the power to repositioning yourself instantly is just too powerful.
IGNITE
You will run Ignite 99.99% of the time because Garen need it to have kill pressure in lane and even in mid/late game to delete the carry since it help you to reach the execution range for Demacian Justice faster + it a nice tools against champion who got healing.
EXHAUST
There is a Grandmaster Garen's player in Korean, who is running exhaust versus Quinn and Vayne precisely, the slow it give make them more vunerable to ganks and can even help you to all in them, personally I prefer Ignite but it still good to know that strategy exist, maybe it can fit your playstyle.
GHOST
Ghost is a really interesting summoner spell and it can fix Garen's problem of being kited, sadly since he doesn't have any reset or a constant damage source like Darius or Mordekaiser you will lose a lot of kill pressure especially in lane.


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.
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GET A LEAD OR SURVIVIED 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


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.

TRADING


You want to trade for 3 reasons:
  1. To zoned your opponent and outfarming him
  2. To kill him of course
  3. To force your opponent to recall and having free control on the wave or get his tower.
As Garen for trading you have to identified what ennemy spell is the most problematic in lane and use Courage to counter it (I let you check the matchup section to know what spell you had to careful).

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.
  1. Can I ward?

    Yes: Ward the river/enemy jungle (see the vision section for more details)

    No: Then go to the second option.

  2. Did I need to recall?

    Yes: Recall then

    No: then DO to the next option

  3. 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.
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In mid game as Garen you can Splitpush or Group with your team which allow you to change your way to play depend on the game compare to champion like Yorick for example who HAD to splitpush to be useful and can’t really Teamfight.

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.

SPLITPUSHING


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:
  1. I am strong enough to 1v1 the toplaner opponent or even 1v2 (toplaner + jungler)?
  2. 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”.

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:
  1. They send nobody to collect the wave and lose gold and exp and get outscaled in the long run.
  2. They send someone to collect the wave.
If the second scenario happen this is where the split to group get all is potential!
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.
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As Garen your goal is to remove the main threat of your team, Demacian Justice will be your main tool 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.
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Vision is one of the most powerful and very underestimate mechanic in League of Legends and as a toplaner it what help you to not get ganked by the jungler but it also a crucial tool in sidelane to track the enemy team.

THE FIRST WARD


Remember the Game start when YOU spawn not when the minions collapse on your lane, you can choose to use your Warding Totem 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.

IF YOU ARE AHEAD

Blue Side:

Red Side:

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

IF YOU ARE BEHIND

Blue Side:

Red Side:

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.

WHEN FIGHTING FOR EPIC MONSTER


If you are fighting for a objective like drake , Baron Nashor , Rift Herald , I recommend to always put a Control Ward in the pit to deny potential enemy vision to secure it.
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With Garen you can do the Baron Nashor with only you and your jungler while the rest of your team is putting some pressure elsewhere on the map.

You need at least Trinity Force and a whatever item who give survivability and damage to do that move ( Death's Dance is probably the best item for that), with Courage, you are tanky enough to survive the Baron's damage don’t forget to dodge is skillshot when you can to save extra health, your jungler got the damage + Smite to secure it.

it faster if it a damage dealer like Master Yi or Evelynn and safer with a tanky jungler like Sejuani or Udyr.
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This section will contain how to deal vs some matchup, around what ability you have to play around, what kind of wave management is efficient against them etc.

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.

VS RANGED MU

Tips Against This Matchup

AATROX

Tips Against This Matchup

AKALI

Tips Against This Matchup

CAMILLE

Tips Against This Matchup

CHO'GATH

Tips Against This Matchup

DARIUS

Tips Against This Matchup

DR. MUNDO


Tips Against This Matchup

FIORA


Tips Against This Matchup

GANGPLANK

Tips Against This Matchup

GNAR

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GRAGAS

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ILLAOI

Tips Against This Matchup

IRELIA

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JAX

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JAYCE

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KAYLE

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KENNEN

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KLED

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MALPHITE

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MAOKAI

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MORDEKAISER

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NASUS

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ORNN

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POPPY

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QUINN

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RENEKTON

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RIVEN

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RUMBLE

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SETT

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SHEN

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SINGED

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SION

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SYLAS

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TEEMO

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TRUNDLE

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TRYNDAMERE

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URGOT

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VAYNE

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VLADIMIR

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VOLIBEAR

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WUKONG

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YASUO

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YONE

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YORICK

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First a big thanks to you for your reading I really appreciate, I hope it help you even if it just a little.

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!
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