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Garen Build Guide by

Not Updated For Current Season

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Last updated on August 8, 2012
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Ability Sequence

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

Not Updated For Current Season

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



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Strategy; Or, When to Engage

So long as you do not actually get caught in a fight, you will be reliably able to escape or avoid harm.

Similarly, you are fully capable of choosing to engage whenever you feel like.

This is a powerful tool, and severely under-estimated. Pay attention.

Deciding when to engage is more important than actually doing so. You want to do one (or both) of these things:

A) Inflict more harm then they do on you and escape alive.

B) Cause an enemy to die, indirectly or directly. Preferably two if you die yourself. Try getting your ultimate off before you die if you're in the later stages of the game.

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Building items

Your item build needs to be inherently flexible to deal with the enemies. At the beginning you will simply build damage, with a little health.

Later on you need to adapt. Do they actually have any ap/ad? Should you replace B.F. sword with the Occult Sword (if you're doing well, it IS cost efficient), or perhaps the hexdrinker itself?

If only the tank has any armor, perhaps you simply want to build damage? Or more Health in the form of a warmog, coupling nicely with the atma's? Perhaps they are turning things around, and that occult sword you picked up due to dominating the early game has become less useful... and maybe they have no AD carries so building an atma's is a waste of time.

Unlike other builds, you are going to be taking damage. You need to have this flexible to stay effective and react to what your enemies construct.

You Will Need:
Infinity edge, Warmog, Boots of Swiftness

Suggested Items:
Warmog, Last Whisper, Atma's Impaler, Maw of Malmortius, Force of Nature, Randuin's Omen, Bloodthirster, Ghostblade, Frozen Mallet

This is not an attack damage build. You are going to be too close and do not have the ability to manage durability AND damage to be a successful autoattack build, especially with no cc except for your silence. It relies entirely on bursts.

As for "why ghostblade?" the answer is simple: If you find yourself needing to chase people down, that extra movement speed will become extremely helpful.

"Why not frozen mallet in the build? It provides health, and slow!" Because you don't want to get caught in long battles, and if you are chasing someone down, having a higher speed to actually HIT them in the first place will be more helpful. If you need more survivability, build actual armor or health. If you need people to die, build more damage.

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Basic Tactics

Do what your enemy doesn't want to do. This is a little strange, but if your enemy has great burst damage but can't sustain, keep pounding on them. If they can whack it out with you and win, like Jax? Beat them a little with your decent burst damage and then fall back.

Keep them from using whatever advantages they have, be they regens when they hit enemies, ranged attacks... it doesn't matter. What they're bad at, you're decent at (generally). Use and abuse it. If they rely on melee and doing damage to charge their abilities? Bully and zone them. If they're someone like Irelia? Let them push in, punish for trying to get at you, grind out their mana, and ask for a gank. Don't be afraid to let them push you.

Still, however, Garen is very much intended to be get in, do your burst, and get out. The regen and the massive ability damage (early on) leads into this. In later fights you will want to dash in, silence the worst cc offender, spin, pop your shield, and then make the carry explode with your ulti before leaving. Come at the side or behind.

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Garen is a high-durability melee fighter with the capacity for incredible top speed, massive damage, and fair armor built-in. He is intended (or so I believe) as an offtank; someone durable enough to swiftly wade into melee, brutally murder the carries, and then escape before dying in return.

He is massively powerful in the early game, dropping off in the later game. To be successful with him, you MUST push your enemy's face into the ground. You cannot simply zone them. You have to brutally murder them. Preferably multiple times, as early and as often as possible. Thankfully, his skillset lends to this if you can get the ball rolling.

He is a preferred top against other melee characters and absolutely needs good jungle support, because you WILL be ganked against decent players. Without that support, you lose. Unless, of course, your enemy also isn't getting any and is a melee character or a squishy with weak escape mechanisms . . .