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Garen Build Guide by G0L1ATH

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author G0L1ATH

Garen the Great "Offtank, Carry, Tank"

G0L1ATH Last updated on August 18, 2011
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Solo Garen

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: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 9

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

Utility: 0

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Hello Fellow Demacians,

There is no Champion in the game more deserving of a Commando Skin than Garen a true badass with shades. I main Garen and play with an aggressive mindset which will cause great success and occasional failure. Please do not judge my build/guide until you have read through all the information and have tried it for yourself. Also I will be updating this guide after every patch and when I discover new builds through experimenting, so make sure to keep posted. Thank you and DEMACIA!

GUIDE 1:: Solo Lane Garen balanced.
GUIDE 2: Duo Lane Garen carry.
GUIDE 3: Twisted Treeline Garen.
GUIDE 4: Tank Garen.


- Garen is one of the best early-mid game killers
- Garen can be tanky even while building DPS
- Garen has a Silence
- Garen has a Execution style Ult (No more KS)
-Great Chaser & Escape Artist
-Decent Farmer
-Great 1v1 Assassin
-Has Commando Skin


-Lacks CC (Crowd Control)
-Cooldown Dependant

LEAGUE LINGO: Now when I first started playing this game I had no idea what people were trying to tell me. This section is for new summoners if you are a veteran skip it. Below is a brief summary of commonly used words and their meaning. If I did not list one you want answered please let me know in a comment below.

AD: Attack Damage Ex: Garen
AP: Ability Power Ex: Annie
HYBRID: Both Attack & Ability Power Ex: Twisted Fate
CC: Crowd Control
DPS: Damage Per Second
OFF TANK: A legend who builds tank and DPS items
MIA: Missing in Action (Call it when your opponent is missing)
RE: Re-Entered (After calling a MIA)
/D: Makes your legend Dance
/T: Makes your legend taunt
/J: Makes your legend Joke
/L: Makes your legend laugh

Commando Combo: This is a word I will use throughout the guide which summarizes what is mentioned in the solo lane section. The concept of unleashing Decisive Strike, Judgement, and Courage in a combination for devastating DPS.

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Solo Lane

Every situation is different for Garen while solo, remember to adapt accordingly. Play smart and acknowledge who your opponents are and what they can do. Garen is a great early-mid game executioner but waiting for the right moment is crucial!

With my solo build you will be durable using Regrowth Pendant, Greater Seal of Vigor, and Perseverance for ridiculous health regeneration. Harassing opponents and getting kills should be easy unless you have a tough lane. That would consist of Double Range, Double Stun, Ranged & Stun, or Ashe with another AD. If this is the case camp the turret until your Jungler, teammate, etc comes.

Examples of how I solo are general and can change depending on the opponent lane composition and if I am against one or two people. I will only last hit minions then activate Judgment spinning into opponents for harrassment and retreating in one spin. When Garen reaches Lvl.2 harrass with Decisive Strike followed up immediately by Judgement.

Once Garen has reached Lvl 3-6, I will increase my aggression and seek first blood. Activate Decisive Strike for a speed bonus, once in range use Exhaust to reduce their speed, armor, and damage then land Decisive Strike follow up immediately with Judgment and activate Courage to soak up DPS.

When Garen reaches Lvl 6 with correct timing you should land a successful commando combo and receive a kill. Do exactly as listed above and just add your Demacian Justice Ultimate after Judgment.

The combination of Decisive Strike, Judgment, Courage, and Demacian Justice can solo every champion in the game early to mid game unless they are fed.

HINT: If a ranged opponent is poking alot while being cautious a good way to reach them is to Flash on top of them then activate Exhaust and unleash the Commando Combination on them for an ez K.O.

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Duo Lane

Duo Garen follows many of the same concepts as Solo Garen so make sure to read both sections and understand the Commando Combo. I play a much more aggressive Garen here purchasing 3 Health Potion and Boots of Speed immediately. I use these items to have a speed advantage on my opponent and to recover health fast from reckless play.

Always play Garen as if your Rambo, rush straight into the brush of your lane once the match begins after item purchase. If your opponent gets there first be sure to Flash away and wait for an opportunity to enter the brush, no worries your spell will return soon enough. If you are successful in reaching the brush first wait for an opponent to stroll up towards the brush, once they do initiate with Judgment and use Exhaust on them for devastating DPS.

For the entire lane phase you must remain hidden in the brush, only leaving to last hit. The best way to go in and out effectively is to Decisive Strike a minion then run back into brush and repeat for easy farming.

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Team Work/ Mindset of Garen

Teamwork is a major part of success in League of Legends. Knowing your role on the team and how to use your champion in team fights. If you are building tank Garen then you will want your teammates mainly carries to get every kill. Use the Commando Combo to weaken foes and leave the final hit for your carry. Now if your building carry Garen feel free to pick up every kill and get fed.

Using Garen in team fights also depends on your role. If tanking as Garen you will need to initiate which is difficult, considering Garen has no true initiation. The best way to do this is run in with Decisive Strike and silence the opponent AP carry, then Exhaust and Judgment the opposing AD carry. This will get the opponents attention causing them to focus Garen giving your team the chance to come in and clean house.

Now if carrying as Garen wait for your tank to initiate, but feel free to come in right behind him. Though you are not a tank, Garen is naturally tanky and will still be able to soak up more damage then other team members. This is the best way to build Garen in my opinion he has way to much AD/DPS capability to build full tank.

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Summoner Spells

What summoner Spells to use are all opinionated and will vary depending on the opposing team composition and what type of Garen you are building.


Flash is always a great pick regardless what champion you select. The ability to use it as both an escape and pursuit mechanism is amazing. It can be used to turret dive a kill and escape or to go through walls.

Exhaust always a great pick for any AD champion. The effectiveness of slowing your opponent and lowering their AD is incredible.

Teleport if you need to recall to purchase items or heal and do not wish to miss out on farming minions this is perfect. Often while solo I use this spell to keep up with my opponent. You can use it to Teleport on top of a sight ward which can be an excellent strategy, for example you can place a sight ward in the back of an opponents base then Teleport to it and backdoor. If your entire team has Teleport even better!

Ignite What better way to ensure a kill at the end of a commando combo than to throw an Ignite at the end.

Clairvoyance is a powerful spell, but I try to avoid using it as Garen and let our support get it. If nobody wants to use it then getting it is worth it. You can use this spell at the beginning to see where your opponents are going to lane and what items they purchased. Also Garen can scout bushes to enter safely for ambush and will keep team vision on Baron and Dragon.

Cleanse If the opposing team has tons of CC you cannot go wrong with this spell. It also is helpful on removing annoying slows when pursuing an enemy.


Smite We are not Jungling so there is no point in picking this spell.

Clarity Garen does not use mana last time I checked.

Ghost is a great spell for most champions, Garen is one of the few who does not need it. Our Decisive Strike is a miniature ghost. Pick it up if you are obsessed.

Revive could be a good spell if it did not have such a ridiculous cool down! That being said it is not worth picking over other spells.

Heal we have massive health regeneration and Courage. There are better routes to take though this spell can be useful.

Fortify If the spell lasted longer and did not have a huge cool down it would be viable. Until this happens do not pick this up as Garen.

Rally I love this spell and tried to figure out any possible way it could be viable. Needless to say I failed to do so it has too long of a cool down and can be destroyed.

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Good/Bad Lane Comps


Now the list can go on and on. Basically you want to lane with someone who will slow, stun, or snare your opponents and can do decent amounts of DPS or burst damage.

Twisted Fate is a great lane partner for Garen. He can both slow and Stun opponents with Pick A Card while harassing them with Wild Cards. This helps land a successful Commando Combo.

Taric can stun opponents using Dazzle and will heal Garen with Imbue which is wonderful. This sets up a Garen Commando Combo easily.

Ashe can both slow and stun opponents using her Frost Shot and Enchanted Crystal Arrow. This makes her a great lane partner for Garen.

Lux can bind multiple opponents using Light Binding and can nuke opponents with her combination of spells and increased damage from Illumination.

Morgana can both slow and stun opponents which is always a perfect fit. Using Dark Binding and Soul Shackles to help Garen land the Commando Combo.

Alistar supports Garen differently than most champions but also fits the role to perfection. He can use Pulverize and Headbutt to keep enemies knocked up for Garen. Also his ability Triumphant Roar can be used to heal nearby allies and can be cast more often when nearby enemies are dying, which trust me they will be.


Each and every one of these foes will have you ripping your hair out as Garen. Stealth, Stun, and Snare are Garen's worst nemesis and most of these champions expose that.

Akali will farm and harass you with a boomerang and poke at you while using Twilight Shroud. When you try any attempt at Commando Combo she will simply vanish using Twilight Shroud to counter and reversing you to the victim with its slow.

Kennen will harrass with Thundering Shuriken, then he can escape or initiate by using Lightening Rush which if he runs through you will cause Mark of the Storm upon you. If he does this 3 times you will be stunned, if he combines this with his Ult Slicing Maelstrom goodbye Garen.

Mordekaiser is possibly one of the most durable champions against Garen and can out farm you. The best way to dodge his abilities is to stay to the side of him since they are all silicone. Creeping Death causes you to take damage whenever near him making harassment rough. When his shield gains energy he is nearly unsinkable alone.

Leona Sunlight will make life tough for you against multiple foes as you cannot farm or harass without taking extra damage. Shield of Daybreak will leave you stunned and helpless to get pummeled. Zenith Blade if it hits you last will immobilize you and cause Leona to be right on top of you. Finally Solar Flare will either stun or slow you for opponents to kill you.
Basically she can stun or slow you four different ways, while increasing her Armor and damaging you with Eclipse. You can get ganked or focused very easily during lane phase against her.

Lux a.k.a. your sister knows you which makes it difficult. Every time you try to use the Commando Combo on her she will Simply use Light Binding to put you in place then attack you and use Lucent Singularity which she will constantly harass with from crazy distance. Finally when she reaches lvl 6 Finales Funkeln will be a death blow. Every attack due to her passive will deal increased magic damage, plus while you are Binded her partner is free to pound on you as well.

Taric has Dazzle which stuns you. Any time you try to stay in brush, harass, run up to last hit a minion etc. Garen opens himself up to be Dazzled which gives both foes a chance to beat you down to a bloody pulp. Another annoying thing about Taric is if you do not focus him he will use Imbue to continuously heal his ally.

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Item builds in general are situational and depend on what your team composition needs. Every build listed I have used in a ranked match successfully with Garen. Remember there is no such thing as a set in stone build, these are listed to give ideas on how to build Garen properly. In order to succeed you must have a good understanding on how to play Garen.


Frozen Mallet is everything a Garen user needs to become a Tanky DPS. It provides Health, ATK Damage, and slows enemy movement speed.

Boots of Swiftness is essential to Garen for the enhanced speed to pursue and escape from opponents. The only exception is if one is building pure tank with Garen which should be rare.

Force of Nature blends beautifuly with Garen enhancing his movement speed further, giving more health regeneration, and magic resistance.


Begin with 3 Health Potion and Boots of Speed, unless Solo Lane if so start with a Regrowth Pendant and 1 Health Potion. Then progress into the build.

Boots of Swiftness is essential to Garen for the enhanced speed to pursue and escape from opponents. The only exception I would make is if the opposing team composition contains lots of CC if so get Mercury's Treads.

Frozen Mallet is everything a Garen user needs to become a Tanky DPS. It provides Health, ATK Damage, and slows enemy movement speed.

Warmog's Armor provides Garen with massive amounts of health combined with Frozen Mallet. Also it increases his health regeneration even further.

The Brutalizer provides Garen with Further ATK Damage, Armor Penetration, and reduces his cooldowns by 10% which improves your greatest weakness.

Atma's Impaler will provide you with Armor, Critical Strike Chance, and will inflict 2% of your Colossal Health as physical damage.

Force of Nature blends beautifuly with Garen enhancing his movement speed further, giving more health regeneration, and magic resistance.


Begin with 3 Health Potion and Boots of Speed, unless Solo Lane if so start with a Regrowth Pendant and 1 Health Potion. Then progress into the build.

Sword of the Occult will provide lots of ATK Damage for Garen with stacks. Since Garen is the best early game killer he will receive plenty. Also when you reach 20 stacks it will increase movement speed by 15% making yourself the flash.

Frozen Mallet is everything a Garen user needs to become a Tanky DPS. It provides Health, ATK Damage, and slows enemy movement speed.

Boots of Swiftness is essential to Garen for the enhanced speed to pursue and escape from opponents. The only exception I would make is if the opposing team composition contains lots of CC if so get Mercury's Treads.

Infinity Edge is what I like to call the gg item for AD Carries. This will give you ATK Damage and the ability to Crit at an insane rate with more power; plus our runes will only add to this.

The Bloodthirster will give Garen massive AD and Lifesteal which will be important late game.

Guardian Angel will provide Garen with the durability needed to deal out his DPS. Also if you get targeted it will revive you which can win or lose a game in some cases.


Do not expect to carry teams or deal alot of DPS with this build. Garen going full tank should be avoided since he cannot initiate well. However you will soak up tons of AP and AD Damage keeping your teammates alive, while dealing enough DPS to get attention. Begin with Regrowth Pendant, and 1 Health Potion. Then work your way into Heart of Gold and Philosopher's Stone selling them only when necessary.

Frozen Mallet is needed to provide the necessary DPS to get attention and to slow opponents since you have no true initiation, also its HP is a bonus.

Sunfire Cape will provide Garen with more Armor and DPS while he is standing near opponents. This works wonderfully with Judgement.

Mercury's Treads is a great item for tanks it has magic resistance and tenacity. This will make you much less vulnerable to CC.

Force of Nature we will use for its Magic Resistance and Health Regeneration it is a perfect item for Garen.

Thornmail is the best item in the game against AD Champions, it does AP Damage back to them and protects you +100 Armor! However this slot in my build is to counter what legend is fed or if their team is unbalanced to counter. If the opponent is AP or CC heavy replace this item with Banshee's Veil.

Guardian Angel late game can win you games that alone makes it worth purchasing. The balance of both Armor and Magic Resistance it also gives you makes it a must buy for every champion!


Phantom Dancer is a great item to use in a Garen Carry build. I prefer Guardian Angel over this for its defense to keep you alive. However if you are not being targeted by the opposing team feel free to pick this up for more DPS.

Youmuu's Ghostblade is a great item for any build with Garen. In my balanced build I stay at The Brutalizer instead of upgrading to Yoummuu's. If you have the extra gold and need more DPS feel free to purchase this.

Sunfire Cape is great for Garen, using it makes Judgment even more effective. I prefer Warmog's Armor for the further health and regeneration. However if you need more DPS or armor feel free to get this.

Thornmail is perfect if playing against a heavy AD team. Tired of Tryndamere? get this.

Banshee's Veil is just like Thornmail but for a heavy AP team. You will block CC and gain magic resistance.

The Black Cleaver is good for a carry build if your opponent is stacking tons of armor against you. This will help counter Thornmail.

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The Twisted Treeline

I play Garen very aggressive in 3v3 following many of the same rules and tips listed in the solo lane section. If Garen gets going early he is impossible for the enemy team to handle. Countless times I have carried teams with the capability to ace the opposing team myself.

Try to solo the top lane every game if your teammates allow it. Garen is incredibly powerful and difficult to handle. There are bushes everywhere on this map in the lane, between lanes, next to lanes etc. Your opponent has no chance, Demacia will be heard from any direction at all times. I love any lane match up on this map with Garen there is no weakness, the only time I have been shut down by an opponent is through consistent ganking. More times then not expect the entire enemy team will be in your lane before to long early and often.

Since their are only 3 opponents they lack enough CC and DPS to take Garen down consistently especially when you are fed late game. If they do not focus Garen with all three champions look forward to becoming godlike. Garen can handle two opponents by himself easily late game, unless they are fed.


Begin with 3 Health Potion and Boots of Speed every game even when solo. Remember to help your team gank at the beginning of every match near the brush of the duo lane before heading top. ALWAYS SOLO!!! It helps get Garen fed so much faster on this map!

Boots of Swiftness is great for quick mobility on such a small map, this allows Garen to gank between lanes quick and easy. Also it is always great for chasing and escaping from opponents.

Frozen Mallet will give you more health which helps Garen tank damage. The slow is the main reason we get this item however.

Sunfire Cape gives Garen more DPS and will increase his durability with armor and health. This item will make you an unstoppable force!

The Brutalizer gives reduced cooldowns which is why we purchase this item. The attack damage and armor penetration is only a bonus.

Sword of the Occult will make Garen a killing machine. I often try to rush this item on the Twisted Treeline since I get kills early and often when solo top, which allows me to gather stacks.

The Bloodthirster this item is completely optional and depends on the in game situation. It gives Garen godlike DPS combined with the other items. I would purchase Force of Nature instead if I need more protection from AP or Thornmail if the opposing team is AD heavy, or Banshee's Veil if the opponent has all CC, or Guardian Angel against a balanced team.

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Guide: Edits/Changes

8.14.11 : Added Summoner Spells section. Minor grammar errors fixed and more detail throughout.

8.15.11 : Added Twisted Treeline section and build, added Tank build, both complete with Masteries, Runes, and item build. Minor editing and spelling correction throughout.

8.18.11 : Added Team work/Mindset of Garen section. Changed Title.