Build Guide by FortuneFavoursMe
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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.
Garen-The Might Of Demacia
This is a Tank Garen build, focusing on gaining enough health, armor and magic resist to be a proper tank, while dealing enough damage to maintain threat and help in team fights.
With this build, you will become an unstoppable juggernaut who can tower dive with ease, tank the enemy like no tomorrow and still deal enough damage to cause enemy DPS to target you, allowing your own DPS and casters to go to town on them.
High Magic Resist
Decent Damage Output
Damage Ouput starts to fade late game
There are superior Tanks, such as Rammus
No CC's other than short silence from Decisive Strike
Decisive Strike - Garen's next attack strikes a vital area of his foe, dealing bonus damage and silencing them.
Garen gains a 15/20/25/30/35% speed boost for 2 seconds. His next melee attack deals 40/60/80/100/120 (+) physical damage and silences his target for 2.5 seconds.
Most Garen builds which focus on dealing damage would priotise Decisive Strike (DS) before Courage. However, as a Tank, the extra damage from leveling up DS is minimal, and as the silence duration (2.5 sec) doesn't increase with level, it is ok to throw in one point into DS at level 2 and to max it last. DS is your skill to initiate with, utilising the 2.5 sec silence to ensure that your team has a slight edge even in the beginning. The movement speed boost can let you catch up to fleeing enemies and to escape from ganks.
Courage - Garen's kills increase his armor and magic resistance. He may also activate this ability to give himself a damage reducing shield.
Passive: Garen's armor and magic resist are permanently increased by 0.5 every time he kills an enemy unit. This bonus is maxed at 5/10/15/20/25.
Active: Garen places a defensive shield on himself for the next 2/2.5/3/3.5/4 seconds, decreasing all damage taken by 30%.
As a Tank build, Courage is maxed before DS. Put a point into it at level 4 and max it after Judgement. By maxing Courage, you will double the amount of time your shield is active for (2 seconds -> 4 seconds), which gives you double the amount of time to be a better tank for the team. Activate it when tower diving, allowing you to take a few more hits than usual, or to block Karthus's ultimate, etc. It WILL save your life many times if used correctly.
Judgment - Garen performs a dance of death with his sword, dealing damage around him for 3 seconds, and reducing the duration of slows by 50%. Garen removes any slow effects on him at the start of the dance.
Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, reducing the duration of slows by 50% and dealing 15/35/55/75/95 (+) physical damage to nearby enemies every 0.5 seconds. Garen removes any slow effects on him at the start of the dance.
The bonus damage is further increased by Garen's critical strike chance. Damage to minions is reduced by 50%.
This is your early game killer. Your bread and butter early game, to harrass the squishy Ashe in your lane and to make her cry as you cut her HP by 1/3 or even 1/2 in one Judgement. Judgement + Sunfire will be your main source of damage in team fights, giving you an AoE damage source. Mid game, DS + Judgement + Demacian Justice will kill almost all champions. Remember that Judgement removes one source of slow when you cast it, so wait till the enemy uses their slow before using Judgement, if you are trying to escape a gank.
Demacian Justice - Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to deal a finishing blow to an enemy champion that deals damage based upon how much life his target has missing.
Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to attempt to execute an enemy champion, dealing 175/350/525 magic damage plus 1 damage for every 3.5/3/2.5 health they are missing.
A nice ultimate, to finish off enemy champions who are on ~30% HP. Demacian Justice (DJ) can be used to kill steal or to ensure that the enemy does not escape. Early - Mid game, this will net you most of your kills. Late game, DJ should be used ASAP in a team fight to execute one of their carries, turning it into a 5v4 fight in your teams favour. By ASAP i do not mean to cast DJ on an enemy carry as soon as the fight starts, I mean to execute him ASAP. DJ allows you to tower dive early - mid game against tower hugging, low HP champions.
Perseverance - Garen will regenerate .5% of his maximum health per second after not receiving damage for 7 seconds.
Garen's passive, very good early game, allowing you to stay in lane much longer than other champions, and allowing you to be aggressive early, as Perserverance + Regrowth Pendant will allow you to regenerate health faster than your enemies. Late game, it becomes less important, but still useful, for example, when an enemy Warwick is chasing you, you will regenerate health very qucikly (Perserverance + Force of Nature) allowing you to escape by denying him bonus movement from Blood Scent. You may even be able to turn around and kill him, as long as his team mates are not nearby.
Core Item Build
The reasoning behind this item build is relatively simple. While physical DPS such as Yi take a longer amount of time to farm up to deal damage, casters and magic users can potentially deal large amounts of damage early game. Mercury Treads and Force Of Nature help to counter this threat, and help countering CC's as well as helping you lane for longer with the insane regeneration of Force Of Nature, combined with your passive, Perserverance. Then 2 Sunfire capes provide large health and armor bonus, as well as providing you with 80 potential AoE DPS (before enemy Magic Resist) This may sound little, but when combined with judgement, even late game, you will deal 200+ damage per second in an AoE. After these four items, you will basically be unkillable, but to be extra safe, a Guardian Angel should be bought.
If the game ends up going into late game, you should take a look at the enemy team and purchase an item to best counter them.
buy a Banshee's veil against magic heavy teams. Enemy casters will cry and smash their faces into their screen when they see you charging at them with Mercury Treads, Force of Nature, Guardian Angel AND Banshee's veil...
Against a physical heavy enemy team, a third sunfire cape will do very well. You can call it NOOB or CHEESY all you want. IT WORKS.
If the idea of a third sunfire doesn't appeal to you, a Thornmail will do a great job against enemy physical carries. However, as Garen lacks a taunt, they may just refuse to hit you.. And that means that you're not doing your job as a tank.
Randuin's Omen is a great item, giving you Cooldown Reduction, a passive chance to slow attackers, an active AoE slow, a bit of HP and Regeneration.
Early Game Strategy
Grab a Regrowth Pendant, a HP pot, and head to either top or bot. Pick a relatively aggressive ally champion (such as Xin Zhao, Pantheon) or a Support (Sona, Taric, Soraka) to lane with, as you need lots of early game kills and assists to fund your item build.
Garen's Judgement skill does ALOT of damage early. Even at level 1, against a squishy enemy champion such as Ashe, Judgement will take down 1/3 to 1/2 of their HP. Combine this with an aggressive ally, such as a Xin Zhao with Exhaust and Ignite, and you will end up with First Blood or at the very least dominating your lane. If you're laned with a support, don't be afraid to start playing aggressively from level 2, once you have Decisive Strike. Use the extra movement boost and damage to target squishy champions, and then Judgement. You will end up with a few kills this way, or at least chasing them away to their base, allowing you to Judgement creeps and farm.
You never have to go back. A Regrowth Pendant + Perserverance means that you can just sit behind the tower to regenerate all your health back. Go back once you have enough for Mercury Treads and Force of Nature.
Mid Game Strategy
Mid game starts when everyone is leaving their lanes to start ganking. You will have Mercury Treads and Force of Nature by now, or at the very least close to finishing Force of Nature. Use Decisive Strike to initiate, targetting squishy carries or casters. The silence from Decisive Strike will allow your team to pile in without the the target fleeing (Tristana's Jump, etc) Activate Courage in team fights (the 30% damage reduction is HUGE), and remember to use Cleanse to flee from losing battles, or to chase enemies who hope that their stun will save them. At level 11, you can tower dive with ease, (Decisive Strike -> Courage -> Judgement -> Demacian Justice) but make sure that you can kill the enemy before deciding to dive. Diving against an enemy Vlad may just result in your death, as Vlad periods away, laughing at you as his allies jump on you. At the end of Mid Game, you should have Mercury Treads, Force of Nature, and at least one Sunfire cape.
Late Game Strategy
Now, both sides are holding hands as a group, and 5v5 team fights are occurring. Your damage output is fading, and only your Sunfire capes + Judgement allow you to deal enough damage to be a threat. You should always initiate fights, Decisive Strike on their main caster/ squishy carry, then Judgement and activate Courage as your team piles in on top of the enemy. Use Demacian Justice to execute one of them ASAP, turning it into a 5v4 fight in your favour. Its your job as a Tank to lead your team into fights. Don't iniate when your Yi is off farming, for example. One bad fight can lead into a defeat. Once you die in a fight, your team will crumble, unless the enemy team takes more damage. Its your job to see that your carries and casters do enough damage to their team that even if you die, the enemy will be outnumbered. Once you finish your second Sunfire and Guardian Angel, you will be a Demacian Juggernaut, Tanking their whole team with ease, executing enemies with Demacian Justice and laughing as they spend an eternity trying to kill you, then you coming back to life due to Guardian Angel, while your allies kill them.
Your /taunt is one of the best in the game: 'Come forth, find honour in death'. Use it to taunt the enemy as much as you can... Hopefully they will come forth and give you and your team lots of kills...
NEVER surrender. Late game, EVERYONE has a chance. Even if your team was getting smashed, your carries will eventually farm up to give your team a chance in team fights.
As Garen says himself: 'I will lead the charge'... LEAD THE CHARGE. Don't be a *****. YOU HAVE TO INITIATE, ALWAYS. It is your duty as the tank. Its better that you die and the 3 enemy carries die, than you living and your 3 carries dying.
Dont forget to activate Courage during team battles. The 30% damage reduction makes a HUGE difference.
Always use Demacian Justice in team fights ASAP to execute someone, Turning it into a 5v4 fight in your favour.
I hope this Tank Garen build helps you in someway, and as Garen says, 'To the Fields of Justice!'