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Garen - The Off-tank Spectacular

Last updated on November 28, 2011
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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

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Garen is a champion that is often just considered a Tank and just a tank. That is simply not true. With this guide you will not only be able to tank effectively(if played correctly) but will will be a major threat to the enemy carry.

If played correctly Garen can be both Carry and tank.

In this guide I will be going over all aspects of the game and showing you how to be great at playing GAREN: The Might of Demacia!!

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With the Armor Penetration Marks and Quintessence You will tear through almost anyone early game. Also with stacks of Black Cleaver will make you just that much more powerful late game.
I don't reccomend ANY other marks/quints

Flat Health Seals are a new addition to my Garen build, (used to be dodge), but the extra health will help you early game since you are smart and don't buy Dorans.
You could also use flat armor/magic resist.

Cooldown reduction per level Glyphs with the addition of masteries will give you almost MAX cooldown reduction at level 18.
You could also use flat cooldown reduction glyphs.

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Defensive Masteries with a little Offense is designed to give you a little bit of TANK throughout the game. I have also switched them around with 21/9/0 but have found the best results with 9/21/0.

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Now I don't fully support the whole "SET BUILD" mentality. I think that to be a great player you have to adjust your build to counter your opponents. A basic build is the one shown above, but you can easily alter it depending on what champions you are up against and more importantly WHAT THEY ARE BUILDING.
The only items I recommend getting EVERYTIME are Boots of Swiftness(The extra movement speed is a MUST with Garen) and Sunfire Cape(this item + judgement will give you the DPS you want and deserve).

Quicksilver Sash - this item is GREAT!!! It allows you to TANK and do DPS. Simply wait for them to focus you with disables then pop this bad boy and away you go! This will allow you to initiate fights with very little risk and force the other team to waste their cooldowns on you, allowing you and your teammates to mop them up. If playing an AP heavy team I switch this out for Force of Nature.

Black Cleaver - Outstanding for Garen! The little bit of attack speed and damage coupled with your armor pen runes and the on hit effect from BC will make any squishy champs wish they had surrendered before the game started! I almost always rush this item right after my initial defensive items but if playing an AD heavy team I will switch this item for an Atma's Impailer.

Frozen Mallet - With this item it will be really hard to get away from you and your teammates. The health + slight attack damage + on hit effect slow makes this a choice item against average teams. ****NOTE if you see an opponent get a MADREDS BLOODRAZER get Guardian Angel instead of this item.

Infinity Edge - What is there to say other then DPS ;)

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Summoner Spells

For summoner skills I always roll with Exhaust/Flash.
If you absolultly hate one/both of those and refuse to use them good alternates are Ghost/Ignite/Clense/Heal(I don't really recommend heal unless you are just starting and dont have another option)

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Skill Sequence/Gameplay

In this chapter I will go into detail about WHY I play Garen the way I do and WHY it works. I will go over EVERY aspect of this guide from Item build to summoner skills.

--Passively regenerates 0.5% of his maximum health per second after not receiving or dealing damage for 7 seconds.
Q-Decisive Strike
--This skill speeds you up for 4 seconds by 15-35% and will silence the next target you attack within 6 seconds of activating for 2.5 seconds. It also deals 30-90 attack damage(+1.4 for every point of bonus attack damage) to the target.
--This skill passively increases armor and magic resistance by .5 every time you kill an enemy unit. in addition you can activate it to give you 20-36% damage reduction for 3 seconds.
--This skill will remove all slow effects upon activation, and reduce any incoming slows duration by 50% It will also deal 50-210(+1.4 for every point of bonus attack damage) Damage per second to surrounding enemies.(50% reduced towards minions)
R-Demacian Justice
--This skill is the only one of Garen's abilites that deals MAGIC DAMAGE. It deals 175-525 + an additional 1 damage for every 3.5-2.5 health the enemy champion is missing

With Garen and a good team I prefer to have solo top and let someone jungle. I want to stress that EVERY GAME IS DIFFERENT and to be an effective player you have to be able to ADAPT.

Start with 3 Health potions and Boots of Speed. Put your first point into E.

Early Game
The most important stage of the game!!!
You should focus on last hitting minions and harass the enemy champion(s) with judgement. Level 2 is a game changer for any squishy champions in your lane. Put your point into Q and WAIT! Wait until they are closest to your minions trying to farm and then you strike with Q and follow immediately with E. This combo should take down a significant portion of your opponents health. Wait for your cooldowns to refresh and once again, wait for them to get too close and Q, then E and exhaust if they are low to secure the kill.
By now you should be at least level 3(If you haven't killed anyone yet don't worry!) put your point into E and focus on last hits. If you are alone in the lane and able to free farm your E is a good way to work a high number of minions health down to allow last hits, but try and save your Q if you need a quick escape this comes in handy.
Continue to farm and Harass until you have pushed the minions to enemy tower and make sure you have enough to buy a Giants Belt/Chain Vest/Negatron Cloak before your first back. This is the point where you have to ADAPT to who you are laning against. If most of the incoming damage taken is AP start with Negatron/Giants belt, If AD, Chain Vest/Giants Belt(depending on how much gold you have when you back). Now if you are just completely destroying your opponent, and not taking a lot of damage, you might consider buying a BF Sword as your first item.
After your first back try and stay in lane as much as possible and take advantage of your passive when you have low health by staying behind minions(but close enough to still earn XP!). Keep last hitting!

Mid Game
After the enemy tower is down(or you notice your team/the other team ganking) you should switch lanes to assist your teammates and support them in their lanes. Use your Q then E combo to innitiate team fights and work enemies down, using W when taking heavy damage or turret diving. Make sure to drop your R ONLY when they are low! Remember that it does more damage the lower health they are. Finish your sunfire/quicksilver/boots when you can off the gold from champion/minion kills. When you are low health a good trick is running between lanes and pushing minions back allowing your health to regen while out of combat. Keep farming and buy your Black Clever when you can(Item by Item if you have to)

Late Game
This stage you should almost always be with a teammate(no matter what champion you are!) Keep using the same Q, E combo when you can. Build your Frozen mallet/Infinity Edge when you have the gold.

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Team Work

Team Work is the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS GAME!!!!!!!!!!!

Make sure you know when to get in and out and coordinate with your team!

When fighting with your team your tactics should change. Save your Q for heavy AP nukes like Kat/Annie/Veigar(and others) or to keep someone from flashing away. You and/or the team tank should be the one(s) to initiate. Make sure that you go in and make the enemy team focus you then GET OUT! Don't fall back completely but go back in once you are taking less damage to add your DPS to your teams. The key to a successfull initiation is to get in, get focused(make the enemy team use their cooldowns), and then get out, allowing your team to focus the enemy carries. Remember YOU ARE GAREN, so stick around even if you are low health(of couse be smart and stay back) to drop your ult when the time is right, or to save a teammate with exhaust/silence.

Also-- ******NEVER EVER TROLL YOUR OWN TEAM!****** Even if they are doing bad be courteous and keep in mind that they might just be having a bad game!

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By following this guide and playing Garen often you WILL become a better LoL player! Both as Garen and with other champions as you explore your options.

Good luck and Have fun out there! Remember this is just a game!