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Garen-An Extensive Look At Tanking

Last updated on August 25, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 8

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

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

Utility: 1

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I have played Garen for a while now, and tried many builds with him, but being a fan of tanks, I like to build him as such, and hes an unstoppable beast. With this guide you will be walking through entire teams as if they don't exist. You will do alot of early game damage, which will get you those early kills needed to beef you up fast so you dont get left behind, but later game you will be a very important asset to the team as the full soaker of damage, and one of the best tower pushers in the game thanks to his Decisive Strike Ability as well as with courage. For those of you who like to play him as a tanky dps this build might be for you, and for those who play him as a full tank this guide is definitely worth giving a thorough look over.

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Runes and Reasoning Behind Them

Now with Marks I always go with Desolation, Garen being a melee character this come in handy alot and with his Q ability it will help substantially. Physical Attack will suffice as well, thats what I originally used as they were cheap. I really dont think any other marks will do unless you want more health runes. Now you may ask, why not armor runes? Well, Armor runes are going to help when your facing a melee champion, but what if the two champs your facing are both mages? Well then my fine sir you are indeed screwed(not completely but they arent very useull anymore now are they?)

With Seals, I always go with Health per level. It is going to give you a huge edge after level six. Flat health runes will be better until level six, but Garen really begins to shine at that level so I think it is much better to go ahead and purchase the health per level runes which at level 6 become stronger. Now you may ask, why not armor runes? Well, Armor runes are going to help when your facing a melee champion, but what if the two champs your facing are both mages? Well then my fine sir you are indeed screwed(not completely but they arent very useull anymore now are they?)

Once again, with the glyphs I go with health per level runes, you could make the argument, why not magic resist? But as in the previous sections, it only helps with one type of champ and not all of them, the basic idea is your items are going to give you the armor or magic resist you need. If you like CDR runes will suffice here as well if thats you preference, but I think Garen is just as powerful with his current CD in the beginning levels.

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First well start with the offensive side, I get the crit because that little chance of a crit really helps early game, especially when farming minions, being that we are going to play garren as a full tank. The one point in ap is just because there is no point in exhaust or smite, though you can put it in exhaust if you would prefer to use that instead of heal. I go with cdr after that because a little bit of CDR is always nice especially with a character who uses no mana and no energy.

Now for the defensive tree. I go with Armor and magic resist ont he first tier, obvious resoning there, your a tank. Get the dodge on the second tier, alot of people would say its worthles if we arent building tabi, but, that bit of unpredictability really helps early game. Since weve already put our points in dodge well get the buff for dodging ont he third tier, as well as the physical blocking from hardened skin, and the less damage from minions. Being a character who puts himself int he fray alot the minion damage mastery is important if you ask me. On the fourth tier we are going to get health, for obvious reasons. Now the fifth tier we are going to skip, because attackspeed and ap arent very important with Garen. Finish it off with the lessening damage mastery at the bottom

In utility I always get the ghost mastery, because early game you can hide in the bushes, pop that ghost and come out with Judgemenet, causing alot of damage to squishies. So its a very useful summoner spell and youd like it to refresh faster.

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THis is where it gets a bit tricky, though the items ive listed above are the common items I use when all of the other team is doing well and they have a balanced team. The two important ones in the beginning are Force of Nature, and Randuins Omen. When you decide to go back after getting the movement speed boots, you need to take a look at what the other team has, build wise, and who on the other team is doing well. This is VERY IMPORTANT and what makes a good tank a good tank, trust me, its all about item build. If they have three mages but the AD Carry is dominating, Maybe something like the Guardian angel at first, which will give you the armor for the AD Carry as well as a bit of MR for those three mages, but toherwise that your gonna pick Randuins Omen or Force of Nature. HP5 is very important on Garen, and this build will give you a 4.4k health, so you really dont need to trip off of too many health items, thats why I focus ont he HP5 more, because it allows you to travel the map and regain your health by the time you hit the next lane, which is important when pushing towers or aiding allies. Thats why most of my items have this. The guardian angel speaks for itself, if your a walking fortress, and it takes all five of them to take you down, and then you pop back up after they kill you? How annoying is that gonna be, and how beneficial is that gonna be to you? The Atmas Impaler is my personal preference as the last item, because it give you that armor, a bit of crit for your Decisive Strike, as well as converting 2% of your 4.4k health into attack damage(This equals out to 88 damage, thats quite alot and more than even an infinity edge can grant.) You can pick and choose a few of the items, like alot of people would rather not get the Randuins, you can replace with with Aegis if you like, I do sometimes when there is alot of AP and they are doing well.(Though I personally like the idea of them being slowed as I am moving away from them, makes it alot easier to get away which is Garen's best quality besides tanking and pushing.)

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Skill Sequence

Okay, alot of people have different ideas of garren's sequence, but I have found the one I am about to tell you to be by far the most effective, and trust me, I have tried alot of them out.

Were going to start out with Courage, which WILL last you till the end of your spin, trust me.(Also before you initiate a Ghost is a good choice to use before) Afterwards, you will pop your Judgement. This is the important part, right after the spin, your going to pop your Decisive strike, this will make you rush forward in the spin, and right after the spin, which of course they will be running away from, you are going to use your auto attack from the decisive strike, stopping them from being able to perform a counterattack on you as you run away. If there are two targets you use the Decisive Strike on the one who can do the most damage with one spell, or the one who can stun you, your choice really depending on the situation. The Ultimate, Demacian Justice is of course saved until thier health hits the right amount of dots. Another very important skill to have when using Garen is the ability to judge how much of the enemies bar is gone, as well as knowing exactly what percentage each level of your ultimate does.
-Defensive Sequence-
Another great thing about Garen is his ability to retreat. There are two ways to do this, and I do both of them depending ont he situation. If there is an enemy with a stun or snare, the first thing your gonna do is courage, then Decisive strike them,(Or vice versa depending on how close they are) only using Judgement if someone has slowed you. This is important, because while in judgement it reduces the slow, but if you get slowed then use judgement, it takes away the slow. If there are no enemies with stuns are, then you will pop your Courage first, then decisive strike for the movement speed bonus, and if you are slowed, then you use Judgement.
Garen is a failry simple character to play once your rotation is down.

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Summoner Spells

When it comes to summoner spells I always go with Ghost and Heal. I like Ghost because it helps alot early game with Judgement, and I like Heal because it helps alot when trying to stay in lanes as well as soaking damage as a tank. Now there are alot of other viable spells you can use. Flash is alway acceptable, it helps when trying to stay on the enemy with Judgement. Ignite is good for early level like 6 to get the health down so you can use Demacian Justice. And Exhaust is also a very good spell because it prevents them from running away from your judgement which is especially good in early levels. Besides these I wouldn't suggest any other Summoner Spells personally.