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Garen Build Guide by Robzin

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Robzin

Garen S3 crazy strong early game and mid game

Robzin Last updated on April 29, 2013
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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: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

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The new Season

The new season has has come and with it new items and rebuked current items, with it particular champions have become a lot stronger (and with it popular), playable and dependable. Garen is one of these champions. Personally he has been my favorite since the tutorial game i played with him in S2 and have played hundreds of games with him against nearly all of the champions and with that have learned how to play Garen extensively and effectively.

Garen used to be nicknamed by some as "captain drop off" due to his effectiveness dropping off late game. If the game wasnt won by mid to late game then he was a liabilty but played correctly he was always an effective tank but with his lack of CC, there were always more popular options.

With the new effects on black cleaver Garen effectiveness in battle has more than quadrupled and is a force to be reckoned with, also with the enchantments on boots Teemos dont expect to be out run so are much less a hard counter for Garen ;).

- Good farming ability
- High movement speed
- Naturally tanky
- Good finishing ability
- Strong early game
- very fast and hard to catch
- Easy to kite
- No strong CC
- Poor initiation
- Not the best late game scaling

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Runes & Masteries

3x Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage =This is much better for Garen in season 3 then Armour pen runes, since you will be running black cleaver the extra bit damage from these runes will allow for much much easier last hitting and holding your own top lane than having excess Armour pen.

9x Greater Mark of Attack Damage: Same reason as quints

9x Greater Seal of Armor and 6x Greater Glyph of Magic Resistand 3x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: These are the best for Garen because he is top lane it is quite possible that you will be facing ap as well as heavy ad bruisers.

Masteries = 9/21/0 = lots of health, bonuses for armor pen, CD reduction, armor, and magic resist.

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Garens skills (other than spin)

Passive: Perseverance

Heals 0.4% of Garens max HP while not in combat.

10 second cool down after leaving combat minion damage doesn't stop perseverance.


As passives go this only gets better from go, it gives Garen great sustain during lane as towards level 6 it is almost equivalent to semi permanent health pot and late game when your on less than half health and trying to not go back because of team fights his passive can help Garen to regen almost all of hp before a team fight happens.

Q: Decisive Strike

ACTIVE: Garen breaks free from all slows affecting him and gains 35% movement speed for a few seconds. Additionally, his next basic attack within 4.5 seconds will deal additional physical damage and will silence his target.

TOTAL PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 (+ 140% AD)
MOVEMENT SPEED DURATION: 1.5 / 2.25 / 3 / 3.75 / 4.5 seconds
SILENCE DURATION: 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 / 2.25 / 2.5 seconds

COOLDOWN: 8 seconds


Garens Q is his only source of initiate and escape and is very useful for keeping up aggression early game. This ability is an all round winner, as it speeds you up hits hard and silences enemies thus stopping many players mid ability, such as Shen and his ulti and other champions, also giving you the upper hand once you have initiated on characters like renekton. As you are able to to hit them for a breif period before they can use abilities to escape or fight you.

W: Courage

PASSIVE: Garen's bonus armor and magic resistance are increased by 20%.

ACTIVE: Garen gains a defensive shield for a few seconds, reducing incoming damage by 30% and granting 30% crowd control reduction for the duration.
DURATION: 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

COOLDOWN: 24 / 23 / 22 / 21 / 20


This ability is a must have at level 4 against all standard ad top bruisers ( Renekton, Shen, Irelia etc) however on champions like Teemo where the longer speed boost is more viable this can wait till level 8 or even later depending on how likely you are to be going head to head with a champion as most squishys fear Garen and will run. Its always a sad day when a Teemo gets the courage(no pun intended) and stands there fearless and shoots Garen down.

E: Judgment

ACTIVE: Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, dealing physical damage to enemies within 165 range each second (minions and monsters take 75% damage). Judgment can critically strike dealing bonus damage.
Garen ignores unit collision while spinning, but moves 20% slower when traveling directly through minions. Garen can deactivate Judgment early by activating the ability again after 0.5 seconds.

PHYSICAL DAMAGE PER SECOND: 20 / 45 / 70 / 95 / 120 (+ 70% / 80% / 90% / 100% / 110% AD)
MAXIMUM PHYSICAL DAMAGE (W/O CRITS): 60 / 135 / 210 / 285 / 360 (+ 210% / 240% / 270% / 300% / 330% AD)
PHYSICAL DAMAGE PER SECOND TO MINIONS: 15 / 33.75 / 52.5 / 70.5 / 90 (+ 52.5% / 60% / 67.5% / 75% / 82.5% AD)

COOLDOWN: 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 / 9


Spin to win, enough said. Jokes aside this is Garens most useful ability due to massive Aoe, it is able to crit and hit very hard, using this with Courage turns Garen into a tanky tornado.

R: Demacian Justice

ACTIVE: Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to attempt to execute an enemy champion, dealing magic damage plus additional damage based on his target's missing health.

BASE MAGIC DAMAGE: 175 / 350 / 525
ADDITIONAL DAMAGE: + 1 for every 3.5 / 3 / 2.5 health missing (+ 29% / 33% / 40% of target's missing health)

RANGE: 400
COOLDOWN: 160 / 120 / 80

This is very similar to Darius's ult however it doesn't refresh after a kill unfortunately and it scales the lower the enemies hp has fallen. here's someone named oxygens take on calculating demacian justice's damage on hp lost

Step 1: Determining DJ's base damage.

Rank I: 175 + 3.5 / missing health.
Rank II: 350 + 3.0 / missing health.
Rank III: 525 + 2.5 / missing health.
100 missing health: 175+ 29 = 204 damage
200 missing health: 175+ 57 = 232 damage
300 missing health: 175+ 86 = 261 damage
400 missing health: 175+ 114 = 289 damage
500 missing health: 175+ 143 = 318 damage
600 missing health: 175+ 171 = 346 damage
700 missing health: 175+ 200 = 375 damage
800 missing health: 175+ 229 = 404 damage
900 missing health: 175+ 257 = 432 damage
1000 missing halth: 175 + 286 = 461 damage
1100 missing health: 175+ 314 = 489 damage
1200 missing health: 175+ 343 = 518 damage
1300 missing health: 175+ 371 = 546 damage
1400 missing health: 175+ 400 = 575 damage
1500 missing health: 175+ 429 = 604 damage
1600 missing health: 175+ 457 = 632 damage
1700 missing health: 175+ 486 = 661 damage
1800 missing health: 175+ 514 = 689 damage
1900 missing health: 175+ 543 = 718 damage
2000 missing health: 175+ 571 = 746 damage

theres more on oxygens post found here Your text to link here...

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Summoner Spells


The two best summer spells for Garen in my opinion are Exhaust and Flash hands down.

Garen when equipped with boots and enchantment and his Q make him very fast so the last thing the enemy champion needs (especially Teemo) is a slow and a sudden gap closer such as flash.

even as a defencive spells these two are a great combo with Garens movement items and Q. as you can slow one and flash and Q run away or over a wall.

Other options:

- Ghost instead of Flash could be fitting for extra speed, however flash just has so much more utility for offence and defence than Ghost making it somewhat obsolete, the only plausible reason for this swap is to freak enemies at Garens sudden acceleration towards them.

- Teleport is plausible in exchange for either spell however this isn't my preferred my spell as this only allows you to port to bot lane to surprise the enemy team with a sudden ult, however in ranked the opposite teams will expect this post 6 so will be more cautious of you leaving making it less viable. Still can be fun in normals.

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Playing Garen

Garen is a fairly easy champion to learn his standard move skill set is Q to initiate, W just before landing your Q, E after your Q lands and if they are low then finish with your ultimate (R). Here's a flow chart for playing Garen which is meant as a joke but is scarily close on how to actualy play.

Playing Garen top, regardless of which side of the map your on head straight to the river bush and sit there till the minions are prime for the last hitting or if a enemy champion wanders up from guarding blue (presuming your purple team) spin him hard but dont go for the kill(unless its Teemo or another squishy).

From then on in depending on the enemy champion play aggressive and try as hard as you can not to spin down the minions and push your lane. however if the enemy champion thinks there boss by standing in the centre of the minions, then try to ensure your last hits by initiating and using your E to to kill the minion wave while simultaneously engaging on the enemy champ, which should push them back (9 times out of ten) at worst you managed to keep you CS up.

Use the bushes effectively, and try not push to far without knowledge of enemy junglers where abouts, and depending on the enemy jungler as Garen is quite susceptible to stuns and snares.

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Who does Garen counter and who counters him?

Garen is good against=

Top 5 Good against:
1. Akali
2. Riven
3. Jax
4. Mordekaiser
5. Renekton

Garen is countered by (bad against)=

1. Teemo
2. Yorick
3. Elise
4. Jayce
5. Nidalee

More counters can be found at = Your text to link here...

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Dealing with counter champions

1. Teemo - This annoying yordle has been thrashing Garens top lane and continues to be the top counter for Garen however played correctly you can even the playing field from Teemo. my personal recommendation for this is to start long sword and pots as usual however, rush boots of swiftness with the Enchantment: Alacrity before level 6 however. you need to play aggressive but try not to go for the kill until just before level 6. At level 4 level your Q to level 2 for the longer speed boost as everyone goes for the shield level 4 Teemo wont expect you to be sped up for longer. use the bushes to try and zone Teemo and scare him by using your Q when ever you can to scare him off, however using it to last hit. Try and time your engage in concordance with leveling up for example get your self to level 5 and 1 minion or 2 from level 6 and just as your minion is about to kill one of there's leveling you up initiate with everything on Teemo ( Exhaust and Flash). This initiate even with out the help of your jungle should leave Teemo low enough for you to ult and finish him and from there on you can snowball him. All in in Teemo is a hard lane when they play Teemo correctly but the trick that gets most Teemos is that they expect to be able to out run Garen , beat this and its over for them.

2. Yorick - yorick is a hard champion and is counter only because of his ghosts stopping Garens passive but aggressive playing pushing him to farm slightly ahead of center lane means you can stay in the top bush to heal and using your q to last hit here allows you to keep up and seem aggressive. Sitting in the top bush as Garen makes for a hard counter too junglers as he is very fast and too tanky to burst down.

3. Elise - In my opinion this is the only champion that can slaughter Garen she is a very hard person to lane against, the only positive about playing against a good elise as Garen is that she will push you to turret where you can spin minions down and or lure for a good gank, junglers will decide who wins in this lane sadly for now. her range is to great for Garen to handle personally

4. Jayce - another hard lane due to his Q - E (in both forms). To beat a Jayce you need to try and deplete his mana early game forcing him to B, however when he cant use his Q shot early game he isnt the strongest so try and push him to tower when hes low on mana as he wont want to leave missing valuable experience and gold but then having to be stuck under his turret missing minions that the turret and his own minions kill. Don't try and chase him thou because of his hammer stance he can either knock you back or worse bait you towards his turret turn jump and knock you under his turret at which point it will be almost gg for Garen.

5. Nidalee - Dodge her spears plain and simple the closer you are to her the less they damage you and she is a squishy champion, just play aggressive here stopping her from farming her spears aren't too hard to dodge and they eat up a lot of her mana. If you find your self losing a jungler with a good bind or stun will shut Nidalee down for you.

However good these tactics or any tactics are this guide isn't infallible dealing with hard counters requires practice and skill and if they are practiced enough in the role they will know how to deal with your tactics, for example an aggressive Teemo post 6 will spam mushroom in river and tri bush and stay well away from the top bushes making it very very difficult for an engage on him, from jungle and your self.

Dealing with any hard range counter takes trying to understand your enemies play style before level 3 to understand how you should deal with them. Any later then they may be too farmed and fed for you to be able to survive and or kill them.

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Questions ?

If you have any questions about Garen then feel free to message me or comment. I will extend this guide in the future and amend it to current needs and better builds.

Thanks for reading