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Garen Build Guide by BustyChicksFTW

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League of Legends Build Guide Author BustyChicksFTW

Garen, The Bush's Boogieman

BustyChicksFTW Last updated on October 8, 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: 0

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

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

Utility: 9

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Vayne was added to the game and Garen was buffed

- 2nd Warmog is a no-go if Vayne is in the game or Kog. Described what to do below.
- Changed the skill sequence due to your W farm ability being buffed. Can now get 25 armor + MR on your first click.
- The minor tweaks in the latest patch will not affect the build, you can try IE but I find it inferior to this build.

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Hello there dear Summoners,

this is the guide that I've found Garen to be practically unstoppable with! This guide will treat about the core items, adaptations of the item set, how to fight in lane, why I chose did/Why I chose to do that, etc.

This is a build for all Garen fans in the League of Legends. I've found this particular build to be EXTREMELY efficient against ANYONE. Your opponents shall fear you, tremble in their boots at the sight of your mighty shiny armor advancing towards them at incredible speeds. Their knees will fail, heads will roll, complete and utter devastation will be laid upon the enemy team.

I would just like to mention that the statistics on the Garen sheet are inexact. I had about 209 AD, which is a lot for a tank that survives that well.

+ Best early game killer in the game
+ Incredible execution skill (basically used for killstealing in teamfights really, but if the tank gets kills, who's going to whine?)
+ DOES NOT require mana (yay!)
+ Incredibly hard to kill
+ Great initiator and decent 1 vs 1 fighter
+ Very long silence
+ Fast movement hero
+ GREAT farmer (if you can last hit)
+ Good chasing ability
+ Good escape mechanism (Judgment removes the slow and Decisive Strike boosts his mov. speed)
+ Punishes enemy mistakes really hard

- Lack of CC (and therefore cannot be considered a real Tank but more like a off-tank)
- Vulnerable to CC
- Somewhat easy to harass against certain heroes such as Vayne (Ranged with blink/speed boost)
- Slow attack speed (Not really necessary anyways)
- Cooldown Dependant

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I'm going with a pretty "strange" rune set, but let me explain my friends; Garen's really strong point is obviously the early game. His early game is GOD-LIKE, like no others, he harasses, he heals, his armor is high and his MR is not bad! His attack on the other hand, has an enormous lack which prevents him from getting kills until level 6. Therefore, I put +25 armor penetration on him, and the results were breathtaking. I was in 85% of the cases getting first blood and continue on a rampage. By level 10, I had at least 2-3 kills and no deaths with a pretty good amount of assists.

With Doran's shield and my rune set, I started with 50 armor the round and around 35 MR with near 720 hp. You are almost impossible to kill, and even scary with the whirlwind. Therefore, with the runes, I'm able to do damage and it helps me greatly because, lets face it, Garen is not scary at all if he doesn't have a LITTLE bit of damage because then, you could just stand in the whirlwind and kill the squishy he's trying to protect due to Garen's lack of CC.

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These Masteries are the best in my opinion and I do not see another variant, unless you try a Ghost Run Garen with Exhaust by tapping 1 point into the third branch, and the rest of the mastery point into the first branch to get the critical strike and exhaust but I found that to be inferior to my Mastery build.

Exhaust is not necessary due to my build with Garen having an absolutely incredible amount of mov. speed. Coupled with Q and E, the squishy you are attacking will most likely die.

The health regeneration synergies well with the Doran's shield and Garen's passive making you even harder to lane against due to your healing abilities. When you add two farmed Warmogs and Force of Nature, Garen can stay in lane forever and can then defend towers while the rest of his team or partner go "b" to resupply.

The +EXPERIENCE is nice in lane and provides lane dominance against any opponent (I expect you to know how to last hit, please...).

The +Money is always nice and helps, not much, but some.

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This is the controversial part that I must explain.

The Brutalizer: I feel this is a very very good item for Garen, but just not worth it after he levels up some more. You have to end up selling it because some much more useful items could have replaced it.

Doran's shield: EVERYTHING on this item is required and needed, this is a godly item for a starting garen; hp regen, defence and health.

Boots of Swiftness: You NEED the mov. speed so you can jump faster with Q or scare the opponent away but MOST IMPORTANTLY so the opponent STAYS in Judgement and takes full damage.

HoG---> Randuin's Omen: This is purely for gold farming and when the enemy team has a LOW-MEDIUM AMOUNT OF AD. If there is 3 pure AD champions and/or if 2 AD champions are FED, drop the Randuin's/HoG and get Thornmail instead! Get HoG/Randuin + Thornmail if 3 AD Champions are FED and drop the 2nd Warmog (hopefully this won't happen!). If 4 AD champions are fed, keep the same build or get a sunfire cape if you feel safer, but I still recommend keeping the Warmog.

WARMOG(s): I recommend this build with two Warmogs+Atma's Will because of the damage you will do lategame that is necessary to be feared/help in teamfights. Also, you need to farm correctly for your W anyways, so might aswell farm another item up? No? :P
Also, you're Active W is absolutely god-like, not only that, but 4 weeks ago, they buffed it too! +36% Damage reduction is HUGE and not to be underestimated coupled with your regular armor and the huge amount of HP. The cooldown on W isn't very high and it lasts a good couple of seconds, more than some teamfights will sometimes if you have good damage dealers such as a competent Brand or Malzahar.

Alternative to 2nd Warmog: (Vayne was added) Get IE if she's in the enemy team. Teach her some Demacian respect. Get Frozen Mallet if she has a bad game.

Force of Nature: You need everything this armor gives; %HP regen, HP regen, Mov. Speed, HIGH MR boost, godly item and it isn't very expensive. Note that I expect you to get early game kills, therefore the normally expensive build will not be so expensive.

Atma's Will: Speaks for itself with two Warmogs and Garen's naturally high HP...

By using your W, you should concentrate more on HP than other defensive stats.
If the enemy team has madreds, don't worry, your MR from runes, W skill and force of nature will take care of a large portion of the damage.

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Skill Sequence

Judgement must be prioritized obviously, but I want YOU, the Garen player to first of all put 1 point into each one of your abilities so your combat mechanism isn't altered/gimped by you only having 2 skills out of 4 at lvl 4. You must level W accordingly to your farming capabilities, if you're solo, no real purpose on getting points in Q since you can't be AS aggressive, get more in Courage so you can farm your MR and Armor.

@ Red: Now obsolete, get 1 into Courage and farm. Level it up once in mid-game for Active W and go on with life.

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Summoner Spells

Flash+Ignite have been by far the most deadly combination of summoner spells I ever used. Exhaust is unneeded due to Garen's already high mov. speed + my build's mov. speed. You have to damage the target and make sure she stays in judgement taking a MAX AMOUNT OF DAMAGE.

Therefore, you must FLASH-SILENCE-JUDGEMENT them. By silencing, they won't be able to flash away or use CC skill giving you a great amount of damage made on the target at hand. (more will be discussed in the Combat Section).

Cleanse is also acceptable and Ghost run is "not bad". Thing is with ghost run, you already have great mov. speed, and if you use ghost run to charge/gank, they'll see it coming and CC you before you can silence them. Remember, your silence is a MELEE attack, not a ranged attack. Therefore you need some kind of blink to get there. Mov. speed alone is not enough, especially at higher elo.

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- If you're opponent is a ***** early game and won't harass, cut him off by going behind the enemy minions, making a clear line between him and your minions so he doesn't get any creeps.
Thing is, Garen is so powerful early game, not many people can actually harass him and farm against him.

- If you're low hp, fall back and wait for the passive, the enemy must not touch you so the passive keeps working on you. You're passive is an absolutely essential tool in your laning phase.

(Don't forget to call your MIAs, opponents fighting an early game garen tend to leave because they can't farm or get kills or even push successfully)

- Jungling: Take blue buff if no one on the team needs it, I know Garen doesn't have mana, but the CDR on it helps greatly on your "harass" and spamability of skills (also, you want your ult to be available faster after you used it ;) )

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Combat Tactics


This is the sequence to assault anyone for THE KILL.

Press Q (do not use the silence yes) ---> Run towards him (ONLY RUN IF IN BRUSH/GANKING) ---> FLASH TO HIM ---> CLICK HIM ONCE FOR SILENCE ---> SPINNNYYYYY + IGNITE ----> Look at the target, exactly when Silence stops (if he has CC/Enough mana/ low health) Press Judgement again to stop judgement and ULTIMATE his face.

Ideally the said person must have 600 hp by mid-game.
350 hp and less early game
1000 hp and less late game

^ For a semi-squishy guy. Values depend upon the amount of Armor he has.

The Bush is your best friend, hence the title, when someone heads in the bush, it's almost guaranteed full damage Judgement is done on the said target (unless he CCs you).

Garen hits hard EARLY-MID game, it's your time to shine people!

These games were in Ranked in Solo Queue, the defeats were due to feeders :/, they were too heavy to carry sadly.

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Team Work

Always Always Always aim for the squishies. Try to get as many as possible in your judgement and don't forget to silence the damage dealer. When you go for the squishies, they tend to back off your Judgement, what you just did is that you CUT OFF the damage dealers from the tanks resulting in a sort of ANTI-CARRY champion.

Late game Garen cannot function without the team well, only if he has all his skills off cooldown and he plans on ganking a poor schmuck who decided to try to BD.

BE ADVISED, Life steal champions completely kill Garen, he cannot fight them! Don't try, just run and get backup!

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The End!

Thank you for reading this guide and possibly maybe giving it a good mark!

Rate & comment on what you think would be better, what you agree on, how you had to take your dog for a walk, thus making you unable to read my whole guide, etc.