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Garen Build Guide by Shaxys

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Shaxys

Garen-Offtank of Demacia

Shaxys Last updated on November 3, 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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Hello and welcome to my first mobafire build,featuring Garen,The Might of Demacia. I picked up Garen quite a while ago, at first trying to play him full tank. This seemed to be the only right for me as he was so tankish, but later I understood that no one in more competetive games would actually attack me until everyone else was dead( :( ). So I tried various mobafire builds and improved(or something) them for my needs. This finally resulted in the build you will see above: a combination of defensive,offensive and a slight bit of utility.

If you up/downvote please tell why. I don't want trolls.
P.S English isn't my native language so it may be a few faults with grammar and spelling in the build.

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-Extreme damage early game with DS and Judgment!
-A moderate silence which has a great speedboost + slowremoval!
-The best last hitting tool ingame!
-A strong defensive spell(courage)
-Extremely tankish with maxed courage(if your good at farming the enemies will barely deal damage to you in early game)
-Does not deal to high damage until atma's is finished:(
-Late game is probably his worst part of the game(the damage from Judgment is greater early,midd game) :( But atleast,Offtank Garen makes late game out better then tank and carry:)
-Easily killed if he is stunned+focused early game:(

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Offtank Garen vs. Tank Garen vs. Ad-carry Garen

Tank Garen:
+Impossible to kill
+Will be able to solo turrets while watching the internet
+ Demacian Justice Will have it's full potential, you can use it when you truly need
-Will deal no damage except with Demacian Justice
-Will be totally ignored by anyone who knows how to focus.
-Will practically make his team 1 champion less in teamfights
-Everything he can do for his team is a rather short(compared to the cooldown) silence.

Ad-carry Garen:
+Extreme damage throughout whole the game.
+A Q+E will practically kill anything below 100 armor:)
-Will die before he even reaches his target (no use in a teamfight)
-Not being able to turret-dive well cause of his squishyness
-Will not survive long enough to use his Demacian Justice properly

Offtank Garen:
+Moderate damage throughout whole game
+Great survivability throughout whole game
+Can use his Demacian Justice with full potential almost always
+Will be able to dish out great amounts of damage in a teamfight thanks to his survivability and his still moderate damage
+Will be able to kill almost anyone in a 1v1 situation thanks to silence,spin and ult.
-Nothing compared to Ad-carry and Tank Garen.

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Greater Mark of Desolation and Greater Quintessence of Desolation: These runes gives me an extremely strong early game offensive while still being usefull in the later parts of the game.Together with Youmuu's you will practically MELT through the armor of anyone. I would not change these runes for anything else as the Arpen is AWESOME.
Greater Seal of Armor: The early game armor low so these runes will help out there a bit:) These runes could be exchanged to Cd-reduction also.(but I prefer armor for early game sustainability and a bit of late game boost)
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Magic resist per level helps out great in this build which clearly misses magic resist.(of course you could add magic resist items instead)
You could change those for Cd-reduction aswell although I prefer magic resist as this build misses it.

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Summoner spells

I pick Exhaust and Flash as Summoner spells.

Exhaust: Exhaust can be used in many ways. 1: slowing down an enemy catch up with him/her for an easy kill(because you will have Frozen Mallet you won't this very much). 2: To weaken a ad carry in a team fight, making him/her an easy kill and reducing the threat of him/her to almost none.( AD carries like Corki , Gangplank , Ezreal and Kog'Maw who deals damage with spells aswell will not be affected as huge from this but Exhaust will still be usefull) 3: In a duel, to weaken your enemy for an EASYYYY win(This and in team fights will be your main uses)(Be sure to use it as early as possible if you think your enemy is going to fight you back)

Flash: I LOOOOOOOOOVE this summoner spell. You can use it so many different situations: 1. Flash to escape. Flash over a wall, Flash towards a turret, Flash towards allies etc. 2. Flash to help your teammates. Flash over walls to help them , Flash towards them etc. 3. Flash to get a kill. Flash over a wall to reach someone, Flash towards an enemy, Decisive Strike , Judgment for a kill or (I love this one most) Flash towards someone low and destroy them with Demacian Justice

Other usefull summoner spells on Garen:

Ignite , Teleport , Cleanse
These are other summoner spells I've tried on Garen and which I find possible as replacements for Exhaust and Flash if(for example) someone else has Exhaust and you don't feel you need Flash (I never feel so though.)

Ignite: Ignite is great for finishing of that damn escaper early game(as after level 6 you got your own uber Ignite ) , to deal damage against enemies with high armor and magic resist(not a common reason by me though) and (the best , according to me , use) to lol at those stupid regen guys: Warwick , Dr. Mundo , Vladimir and enemies with high lifesteal , or to finish of that stupid Tryndamere as he spins away cause his ult makes your ult almost worthless.

Teleport: Teleprot could be used to get to and quickly defend a turret, to surprise-push a lane , to recall and then instantly be back in a lane to surprise your enemies , to quickly get to the aid of an ally and to get back into the teamfight quickly. Remember that Teleport has a long cooldown though and you're Garen, you don't need to it to get back into the lane if your not needed or if it's not to long(you've got your Decisive Strike :D)

Cleanse : Cleanse is great on any melee champion as it will make lockdowns(except surpresses...) worhtless once in a while , though Garen has Courage and you're pretty tanky with this build so I prefer other spells before Cleanse (It's a matter of choice though) I do prefer Mercury's Treads though if you're being CC'd too often.

All these optional summoner spells are good on Garen but I prefer Flash and Exhaust far more (if I need to change Exhaust I would pick Ignite though) before the optional as I like them more on Garen.

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Okay, because of season 2 coming up with new masteries etc. I've tested a few different combinations and this was the one which fit me the best.

In the offensive tree I pick Summoner's Wrath wrath because It improves Exhaust and if you decide to pick Ignite it improves that aswell:D. The rest of the important masteries are more damage Brute Force and Havoc , armor penetration Weapon Expertise and Sunder , crit chance and damage to improve Judgment with Deadliness and Lethality and finally your super ulti-booster Executioner (it stacks with Demacian Justice !!!)
In the defensive tree I pick bonus magic resist and armor: Resistance and Hardliness and a slight buff to health per level: Durability .

With these masteries I destroy squishes and tanks alike early game and I still gain a nice bit of survivability:D. But ofcourse, feel free to pick other masteries if you think they suit you better.

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Decisive Strike: Great early game harrasing spell on mages. Charge in silence and charge out for free damage. Great teamfight engaging spell aswell. Charge in with it and target the squishy mage:) that mage won't do much more in that teamfight. I max this second.
This spell can be your saving angel if your engaged by a mage when your at low health as well.
Now also removes slows! Great thing. Use this whenever you need to escape!
Just silence the mage before he is able to throw any great damaging spell at you and Judgment to probably even get a kill. If you can't kill the mage, simply silence him and run away with extreme speed.
Courage: This spell is a great defensive ability(probably one of the best!). The new Courage leaves almost nothing to ask for in Garen power! Thanks to the new passive, you'll only need one point in this until lvl 14 to maximize the passive power! At maximum level, the active % damage reduction is slightly lower, but in combo with the passive increase of MR and Armor + that the active lasts for a whole bunch longer time, Courage is greater than ever!
Judgment: This spell is awesome for taking down squishes in early, midd and late game:) Just use DS, run up to a squishy and use Judgment for insane damage. I max this first.
Scales alot better with AD now, according to me, atleast. I love the new judgment!
Demacian Justice:The best last hitting skill ingame. Can be used to secure a kill for your team. Simply target the enemy and watch the big,golden sword destroy them:) But don't use this to killsteal. It's not worth it. Use it when needed instead. I skill up this whenever possible.
Perseverance: (Forgot to actually put this in the guide before, but meh. I only put this here so you can get some explanations, the spell is pretty simple.)
Garen's passive has gained a pretty cool buff. It no longer cancels by minion damage!(Though it does by neutral monster damage, damn them jungle creeps!) This means you can farm without being endangered! The extreme regen of this spell also lets you lane alot longer than most other champions in the game. This is combined with Garen being a mana-less champion, makes him a king of laning! Have fun powning them at the toplane!

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Your Core Build:
Frozen Mallet Boots of Swiftness Warmog's Armor Atma's Impaler Infinity Edge
These items do give you damage,utility(slow from Frozen mallet and movement speed from boots) and(lovely) survivability.
Sixth item choice:
Guardian Angel: If your greatly focused and need that slight bit of defensive power to grab the damn pentakill(:D) than this is the item for you! Armor and magic resist and a great rescurrection!
Youmuu's Ghostblade: A great item for Garen. Armor pen,Cd reduction,Damage and even Crit chance! the active is also useful even though you won't be dealing damage with your basic attacks. The active lets you chase with Judgment and follow up with an auto attack to keep the effect:D With Frozen mallet also you become impossible to escape from. If you build a Youmuu's be sure to get an Avarice Blade fairly early on. Note: This is a great item, but if you face a team with a balanced damage output (Physical~=Magical) you would rather have a Force of Nature then Youmuu's Ghostblade as you could(perhaps you are too fed to feel their magic damage?:P) need the extra magic resist badly. IF facing a team with weak magic damage, then ditch the Force of Nature and pick your Ghastly sword.
Force of Nature: If you face a heavy caster team, then this item will benefit you extremely well. Also, with your health you will gain extreme health regen from this item. As you miss out magic resist with your standard build also, this is a great item against a fairly balanced team aswell!
Thornmail: If you face an extremely heavy ad team( Tryndamere, Master Yi etc.) this is a great item. But only if you face a extremely heavy ad team with at least one auto-attack to win champion.
Last Whisper: As quite a few fellow Garen players have suggested until now, my Garen build may be somewhat low on damage in the later stages of the game. I find my self not in need of this item, as I trust my teammates(perhaps I trust them too much? :P), but if you find that your enemies stacks armor just to annoy you, feel free to pick this item. Garen is not a carry, though, atleast not with my build. Keep that in mind and have a great time rolfstomping people!
Optional items:
Banshee's Veil For when you face heavy magic damage and cc's. Exchange for youmuu's or infinity edge if you need more survivability or for frozen mallet if you don't.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity:Kenkishi(a tank Garen player) suggested those boots and well they could be useful. Pick those if you like shorter cooldowns more then a slight bit of movement speed or if you face a extremely slow team.
Sword of the Occult If your pwning their heads and kill them under the turret once and once again then this is the right item for you:) More damage and movement speed for extremely cheap. I personally don't like this one because snowballs aren't in my opinion good at more competitive games.
Sunfire Cape If you need to get an easier time farming minions(which on Garen isn't that hard but it's just optional) then buy Sunfire. The damage from Sunfire and Judgment will make you take every single minion in a group.
Last Whisper:Kenkishi suggested this aswell. I personaly don't like this item if my enemies just don't play plain armor ftw. But of course, it's a matter of taste.
Mercury's Treads: Well a friend suggested these boots when you face a heavy CC team.
I don't like them much at all on Garen, but if your CC-focused down all the time then pick those.
The Bloodthirster: Could be an item on Garen, but for that you need to sacrifice survivability. Get this only if you can afford to miss the survivability.
Force of Nature: If you face a heavy caster team. Be sure to not pick this as a sixth item if you picked it as another item though.
Thornmail:You could pick this if you face a extremely heavy ad team- to become almost immortal! Don't forget to skip it as finishing item though.
Phantom Dancer: madalin120988 suggested this item instead of Youmuu's because it gives more attack speed, crit chance and therefore more damage. I don't personally like it,but it could sure be usefull. I'll try more with PD in games of my own to see if it's better than an optional.
Guardian Angel: If you need strong resistance and a cool revive effect, then pick this. Don't pick it as last item then, though.

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Item order

Well now when you now what items to buy. Here's the order for them.(Observe that I use Youmuu's in this order as I normally use it ingame. If you use another item then just change):

Starter Item:
For an easy solo lane: Doran's Blade if you prefer Doran items or Long Sword/ Brawler's Gloves if you want to build for your later items already.
For an hard solo lane: Doran's Shield if you prefer Doran items or Regrowth Pendant if you want to build for later items already.

Early game items:

Boots of Speed Avarice Blade Phage Boots of Swiftness

This a ''okay'' early game setup. Upgrade your Boots of Speed into your choice of boots after Avarice Blade. Upgrade Phage into Frozen Mallet when you have the gold.
If you're fed you could already start working for Warmog's Armor.

Midd game items:

Tier 2 boots, ( Youmuu's Ghostblade )<--(If you face a team with weak magic damage or underfed mages) Frozen Mallet Warmog's Armor

This a great midd game setup. Try to wait as long as possible but not too long with upgrading your Avarice Blade into Youmuu's Ghostblade (if you will have Youmuu's
-facing a magic damage weak team that means) so you get the most out of the gold per 10 sec without losing any power from Youmuu's. If you're fed you could start with Atma's Impaler.

End Game Items:

Atma's Impaler Infinity Edge Force of Nature

These are your final items. After you've finished both. Start picking up elixirs to boost yourself even more. If you don't die much at all , and you face stealthers( Twitch , Evelynn , Akali , Shaco etc.) which keeps disturbing you , pick up a Oracle's Elixir to disturb THEM instead. Otherwise , do just pick up Elixir of Fortitude and Elixir of Agility

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Laning with Garen

When your playing Garen you should try to get solo top lane as you need alot of minionkills for your items. If you must duallane try to get someone who dosen't need minions that much.

Early game: Level 1-7(8)
This is when you're going to stay in lane about all the time. Just focus at killing minions. Champion kills is a luxury and you shouldn't focus at those.

Start with Doran's Blade , Long Sword if you face a single enemy at solo top or if you are duallaning. If you face 2 enemies at solo top or a hard one which will make you play defensively(almost impossible for Garen) buy Regrowth Pendant or Doran's Shield.
Head to top lane and stay at turret,dancing until minions spawn. Stay with your minion wave kill the enemy minions with last hits and try to not push. Pushing will make the jungler having a harder time to gank your lane. If you need to, use DS(Q) to get an easier time last-hitting minions.

As soon as you have about 1200gold( Avarice Blade+ Boots of Speed) you should recall. If you have an easy lane and you're killing your opponent a bit then you can wait until you got about 1750g so you can buy boots of swiftness instead of only boots.After this start building on Phage into Frozen Mallet. When you've got your ult you could if your enemy is on your side of the lane and dosen't have full health ,simply charge in with DS,Judgment,Exhaust,an auto-attack and ult for an easy kill(against most opponents-maybe except those uber-tankish guys).

In laning , try to fully utilize your spells. If you face a mage or a spell damage dealer always intiate Decisive Strike (or whatever.... use it on everyone with a focus on the mages if there are more then 1 target(s)) and then unleash HAVOC with Judgment and activate Courage during Judgment if you need to. A few auto-attacks should do it and you will get a kill(or a free lane) if the guy did survive and didn't recall, just wait until level 6. Charge in, silence( maybe Judgment ) and ult for a kill. Other then that simply kill minions and the lane is yours.

Midd game: level 8-14(15)
This is when ganks(except those from the jungler) usually start. Everyone get their ults, one maxed spell and probably a few of their core items. This will give them(most of them) an strong ganking power and laning is not longer the main thing for most. But whenever you find an empty lane with minions and you aren't needed at another place just farm like there's no day after this! FARM FARM FARM! And when you are needed at another place just DS there like superman and Spin-to-Win to destroy your enemies.(later midd game is when teamfights usually start.)(see more about ganks in section: Ganking)
Continue with buying your item build. Try to keep your Avarice Blade nonevolved during whole midd game. Upgrade your Phage into Frozen Mallet and buy Warmog's Armor. If you have an extreme farm , then you could even buy Atma's before upgrading Avarice Blade into Youmuu's(If you should be having Youmuu's(see ''Items''/''Item Order'' for more info about when to have Youmuu's). But normally you won't have the gold for Atma's in midd game. In a normal game you will probably get out of endgame with a Warmog's at max:)

Late game/End game-the time of pushes, teamfights and Baron kills: Level 14(15)+
This is when you finish your build,which means you buy your Atma's Impaler, Infinity Edge and Force of Nature(if your enemy team is weak on magic damage you could upgrade your Avarice Blade into Youmuu's Ghostblade instead of selling it for Fon), when you sneak upon Baron and when you fight Glorious Teamfights! This is when you focus on getting Baron+Dragon, followed by destroying your enemy team in a teamfight of beautiful death! Try to buy oracle's and destroy enemy wards which wards baron and dragon so you can kill those without being watched by the pedofiles of your enemy team:D Also if you've got oracle's you could see if stealthers would walk up to your team and try to KS. Just focus down that stupid moron and get a free kill+baron. After baron(if your enemies did get it then try to stay out of teamfight) try to find a teamfight, DESTROY your enemies! If you won the teamfight just go push. If you didn't then..... then go def or just patiently watch as they melt down your turrets:( (see more about teamfights in the section: Team fights).

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When your ganking, let your teammate engage with a disable and charge in with silence+spin.
If your teammate can't then charge in with silence+spin anyways. If you need- use Demacian Justice to secure the kill and maybe Exhaust to secure the kill(do only use them if you're sure to get the kill though).

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Team fights

In a team fight, simply charge in and DS the mage. Then use courage and Judgment in the middle of the fray. If the caster is going to escape and survive, target him with your ult to kill him and rofl at him!:) After that, target the next target with your spells. If you got exhaust use it on their ad carry when needed. If a carry in your team would die and you can save him never hestitate to do-your life is worth less then the carries!

Also try to block skillshot nukes for your carries(you are the offtank) to save them. For example Brand's Sear to save them from a stun.

Note: in a teamfight you may not want to focus the ad carry(even if that one is most important) because your silence is better against mage/spell caster than on a carry.

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Well this is all. If you got any constructive critisism don't be afraid to post it! All critisism is gooood (nice cristisism is always the best but anything is good:) ). And please tell why you up/downvote my build please. I don't want(as I said) any trollvotes.

This is all from my Garen offtank build. Hope you enjoyed readin and using it!:)

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Change log

23/10 2011:The build ''Garen-Offtank of Demacia'' saw the light of Mobafire for the first time , I create my own Mobafire build!
24/10 2011:added more optional items,more info about summoner spell and masteries and a few words on teamfights. Will add more later.
25/10 2011:added a Offtank Garen vs. Tank Garen vs. Ad-carry Garen section and changed starter item. Will add an item order section soon. Added more optional items.
26/10 2011:added a Item order section.
28/10 2011: added laning and alot more on items. a bit on teamfights.
3/11 2011: Added more for masteries, runes and summoner spells. Added ''Change log'' as an own section. Added a ''Thanks!'' section.
16/11 2011: Updated masteries due to season two.
05/12 2011: Corrected an item order fault.
18/03 2012:Added Force of Nature as a standard item in the cheat sheet and removed Youmuu's Ghostblade due to thinking and a clever idea from ''AngloZaxon''. Youmuu's Ghostblade still in as sixth item choice though, if you face a team with weaker magic damage. (see ''Items'' and ''Item Order'' for info about this).
01/11 2012: Added Last Whisper as a possible sixth item choice. Thanks alot to IbbySquared and Kenkishi for pointing this out!

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Thousands of thanks to you all for visiting , commenting , using and voting on my build for Garen! I hope you like the build as much as I like you for visiting it! It feels great when You know you've helped someone!

Special Thanks to:
Kenkishi and IbbySquared for adding a few optional items suggestions.
Khlex,Xavier321,Hampe Dampe,Rezx,Zirhax and Kiirbeey for ingame support and for playing with me and supporting me while I was creating this build.
AngloZaxon for lighting up my mind and changing my idea about Force of Nature. Thanks alot!