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Garen Build Guide by Swiftblood

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Swiftblood

Garen-teed victory - Invincible Tank

Swiftblood Last updated on December 29, 2012
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Top Lane
Ranked #11 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
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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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Archived until Coding finished and writing style revised

Hey all, Swiftblood here presenting my first guide... ever. Top lane is my main spot, I play a large variety of champs for this position but sitting amongst my top 3 tops is Garen. I personally think Garen is one of the best tops in the game and he brought me up out of the lowest elos. He deals damage and I personally believe he is one of the tankiest, if not tankiest, champs in the game. He can heal up 40 health a second with his passive and a few items, meaning lets use mundos ult every 10 seconds he's out of combat. He deals massive damage to squishier champs, you can run after the enemy teams adc and apc and kill them quickly, meaning as long as your team can pick up the slack on the tankier champs you're gonna win team fights. He's fantastic for getting the early game advantage, you can win your lane, then roam to other lanes diving turrets to feed your team as well.

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So why my build over others, why dont I use a brutalizer like everyone thinks you should? Garen doesn't need it, if you have to be the person killing tanks then there is an issue and you're gonna lose anyway, this build gives you extreme survivability and more than enough damage to take down the enemy damage dealers. You want to be the target of the team simply because you're so good at killing their squishies. You can be at the end game and have the entire enemy team attacking you and survive for up to 45 seconds, thats if they weren't able to get much of a feed. You're not gonna be a tank killer with this build, you're not gonna die with this build, but just with the basic set (atmogs, frozen mallet) youre going to deal enough damage to kill the squishies. You are an assassin tank essentially. Walk through the enemy. Chase the adc/apc out of the fight or kill them. Silence their assassin, an interruptable ult, or their apc. Use your ultimate to kill their tank, mundo or volibear about to start healing? means they're low enough health that your ult will probably kill them, you're looking for people with the highest tankiness with lower than 1/3rd health, snuffs out a problem quickly and easily. It's also fun to go after an adc or apc thats poking from inside their base with less than half health, getting that ult on them for the kill can be huge.

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Ignite - Should really always take this, great for giving an advantage or atleast staying on the same level damage wise as your opponent. Pair this with exhaust and you'll almost always win the early game fight. Especially since you should be harassing for more and healing more than your opponent.
Exhaust - Reduces damage (goes perfectly with your w), Reduces attack speed, Reduces movement speed. This can make or break an early game fight and is extremely useful late game for the enemy adc or jungler, gives your team an extra exhaust for teamfights. This spell has gotten me so many early game kills it's ridiculous.
Teleport - Take this if you like to stay in your lane farming or pushing, can give you global presence.
Ghost - Good for catching people or getting to other parts of the map faster
Flash - Useful on him, but I don't think it's necessary, if you don't have confidence in your ability to escape or survive then take this, to me it's only helpful in specific situations

I always take ignite and exhaust for my spells, I find the advantage it gives you is immense and if you can't escape with just your Q and W then you probably wouldn't have escaped with anything else anyway. Q breaks you out of exhaust even. It's about a Garen-tee I survive ganks unless they bring 3+ people. Usually can get a double kill if it's just the jungler or escape if it's the jungler and mid.

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Pros / Cons

Extreme Survivability
Great tankiness, can turret dive at lvl 3
a silence used correctly can win a teamfight
can tradeoff easily with most people
amazing health regen
his ultimate is fantastic for a diving kill
Snowballs insanely well, hard to stop
Fantastic at farming and pushing
usually destroy one or even two towers (if the enemy doesn't adjust) by the 20 minute mark
Hard to gank, can get a double kill early game if played right
Mundo Style Health Regen lategame if you take a spirit vissy, insane regen without it even
superb adc/apc killing in teamfights
great for finishing extremely tanky champs or healing champs (mundo, voli)

Hard to carry if 3/5 of the enemy team is fed
Can fall off some lategame if not fed enough, change build accordingly
Extremely hard not to push a lane
Can cause over confidence in tankiness
Fighting a tank 1v1 late game is like hitting each other with wet noodles...unless the other tank is almost at 1/3rd life or less

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Starting - Movement Speed Boots/3 health pots, take this against most people

Doran's shield, take this if your opponent is a "counter" to you and you expect them to try and harass you alot. Gives you alot of health regen early and the extra armor and passive is great for a 1v1. You can take a doran's shield against any heavy AA'r or heavy AD for the advantage, I don't very often anymore since I usually win the early lane with just boots.

Pre level 6 - Ninja Tabi, phage, avarice blade. Aim to get these 3 items before level 6-8, only get mres boots if your opponents is ap based, not including teemo.
lvl 6-12 - Giants belt, Frozen Mallet, Giants Belt. I'll buy two giants belts if I can before I finish frozen mallet. If you have 2k gold go for 2 giants belts, if you have 1.8k gold, then get a frozen mallet.
post 12 - warmogs armor, game specific item, atmas impaler, game specific item.


Dorans shield if against heavy auto-attacker or heavy ad harass
Spirit Visage - Gives great magic resist and gives you mundo style health regen, fantastic item for garen, I get this often. Good for if you find yourself in a poke war often, you'll always heal to full health extremely fast with this item.

Randuins Omen - Good if an adc gets fed, this would be a 6th item

Black Cleaver - Good if the enemy team has alot of armor, procs with your e, gives health and attack damage. Good 5th or 6th item, I get this often.

GA - ok item, if you're dying first in team fights by the time you get to your 5th or 6th item then you're probably gonna lose because it means they are all fed. Get it if you're not always the last one standing.

Maw- Fantastic item, you could be sitting on 30+ extra attack damage alot of the time because a teams initial burst on you, usually will only wound you, then the shield is nice, the mr is nice, and the base att damage is nice. I get this if I dont need quite as much survivability as a spirit visage.

BT - ok item for the extra damage, I prefer an IE

IE - Critical strike and Damage, fantastic item on garen, get this over Black Cleaver if they haven't built much armor.

I usually build SVis with BC, SVis with Maw, Svis with IE, BC with IE, Maw with IE, or Maw with BC. In order of favorite 5th/6th item to least favorite. Health items give you an extra 1.5 damage per 100 health, so its a small bonus bit for building a RO, BC, or SVis.

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Beating Counters

Teemo - he's going to scamper around and try to kite you if you engage, don't do it. pre level 6 focus on farming what you can and try to stay at full health, if you're going to harass go after him with Q and then E it up as your running back away. As soon as you hit level 6, you should've harassed him well enough to be atleast 3/4 health and you should be close to full health still if you let your passive take over enough. Go after him with Q, hit him, start running away, as soon as he turns to chase you, this time turn back E on him, exhaust him, ignite him, Q again, then Ult. Congrats you just killed Garens hardest counter and you're probably over half health still. If he went back pre 6 then I suggest you go back and pick up a cloth armor and long sword and maybe even a health pot. Biggest thing is don't keep going after him pre 6 unless he's literally a Q away from dying, then you can exhaust him and attack. Post 6, watch him, all teemos try to bait into their mushrooms, you have two options here, either ignore his bait and keep farming or go straight for him W as youre about to enter the bush and after he leads you through his mushrooms Q up to take off the slow and catch him with his pants down.

Nidalee - not real sure why people think she counters garen so bad. She can get away from you, that's the biggest thing, go for the kill pre 6. Post 6 you're gonna get annoyed with her, rush a frozen mallet and it becomes alot easier, don't Q up until she jumps once,this will let you catch up to her to slow her down again and usually end up getting the kill. Her second jump exhaust and ignite her, e up and ult when shes under 1/3rd health. She's hard to snowball off of just because she's hard to catch for the kill.

Put a question of beating a champ in the comments and I'll write a bit about playing against them.

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Garen the might of demacia is the equivalent of a sherman tank if it were in the civil war. Nearly indestructable and it hurts, alot.