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Garen Build Guide by firefly6985

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League of Legends Build Guide Author firefly6985

Garen: The Tank

firefly6985 Last updated on July 12, 2011
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Top Lane
Ranked #12 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.


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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Update History

7/12/2011 Added Garen Kill Compilation video
7/08/2011 Added pretty pictures!
7/07/2011 First published

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Welcome to my Garen guide. This is my first guide, so be nice. I would greatly appreciate positive feedback and constructive criticism. And if you like my guide, give it a thumbs up.

This guide is designed to give you a character that can take a lot of punishment and still dish out a decent amount; enough that you cannot be ignored in a team fight. Garen is not usually a top choice for tank as he has no taunt and his initiation is not fantastic, but he is still a good tank and a lot of fun to play.

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Kill Compilation
My Youtube Channel

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Pros / Cons

-Does a ton of damage early game with Judgment
-Judgment also helps against heavy cc teams.
-Courage does so much damage mitigation isn't even funny.
-Extremely strong against other tanks with Demacian Justice.
-Good escapes with Judgment and Decisive Strike
-Has a silence

-Has no taunt, so can't force an enemy off your squishy.
-Farming can be an issue until later in the game.
-Poor initiation compared to other tanks.

Both Pro and Con
-Demacian Justice is REALLY REALLY good for KSing.

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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells are really your preference. But I choose to go with Exhaust and Flash.

Exhaust is fantastic as both a defensive spell to protect yourself or an ally, as well as assisting in getting kills.

Flash is perfect for quick escapes and for initiation.


Ghost: Useful but the reason I take Flash over ghost is simple; Ghost allows you to move 27% faster for 10 seconds. If you have been hit by the enemy with a bunch of slow effects 27% of 0 is 0. Ghost just did you no good.
Cleanse: Is actually really really good for tanks. I don't use it mostly because I never remember I have it. :-P
Ignite: Probably better to leave this to your damage dealers.
Teleport: Not a bad pick, but isn't always going to be useful.

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3 Greater Quintessence of Fortitude for 78 additional HP. Early game survivability.
3 Greater Quintessence of Swiftness. Helps with initiations.
3 Greater Quintessence of DesolationGreater Quintessence of Desolation. Armor Pen is always useful.
3 Greater Quintessence of Strength. Will add to Judgment, greatly increasing early game damage.

9 Greater Mark of DesolationGreater Mark of Desolation for 14.94 armor penetration. Armor Pen, nuff said.
There aren't really any good substitutes for Marks, though Armor or AD would be ok.

9 Greater Seal of DefenseGreater Seal of Defense for 24.3 armor at level 18. I prefer the per level over the flat as it adds more to late game.
9 Greater Seal of Resilience. Just as good as Defense. I leave this up to personal preference.
9 Greater Seal of Evasion. Not really the best choice. Proof
Proof thanks to Searz (His guide I borrowed proof from.)

9 Greater Glyph of Shielding for 24.3 armor at level 18. I prefer the per level over the flat as it adds more to late game.
9 Greater Glyph of Warding. Just as good as Shielding. I leave this up to personal preference.
9 Greater Glyph of Focus. Cooldown reduction is always nice on mana-less champs.

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This is something I do not feel a lot of people stress enough when creating these guides, so I am going to be VERY forceful about it:

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS take into account what you enemy team comp is, and what they do. You WILL need to adjust your item build based on this.
The item build I have included at the top is a basic, balanced build for a perfectly balanced enemy team between AP and AD. Some item variations and the reason to use them:

Enemy team has heavy burst damage -- Banshee's Veil
Enemy team has no CC -- Skip Merc Treads and get Boots of Swiftness
Enemy team is mostly AD -- Skip Force of Nature and get Randuin's Omen or Thornmail
Enemy team has almost no AD -- Skip the Atma's and/or Guardian Angel and get Banshee's Veil
Enemy team has tons of % based damage -- Warmogs isn't going to help, get more Armor or Magic Resist instead.
Enemy team doesn't do much damage -- Get a Youmuu's Ghostblade and/or Infinity Edge instead of one of your defensive items.

Items NOT to get:
ANY AP item or mana item. You do NOTHING with AP. The only exception is Banshee's Veil.
On-Hit Effect items (IE: Frozen Mallet, Madred's Bloodrazor, etc). Your main damage is going to be coming from Judgment which does not proc On-Hit Effects.
Life steal items. Again, because of Judgment.

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Laning Phase

Where Garen lanes is not very important, though I do not suggest taking a solo as you are not as item dependent as your damage dealers. As you can take some decent punishment with your high armor and magic resist, make sure you spent plenty of time harassing. Last hit as much as possible, unless you are laning with one of your damage dealers. Then let them have most of the farm. Garen is far from the best farmer in the game until he gets his Sunfire, at which point he just tears through waves. Decisive Strike can be used to increase your damage vs towers.

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Mid Game/Late game

During mid/late game your job is to be a meat shield between your squishy damage dealers and the hurricane of damage that is your enemies team. You will be tanking dragon, baron, and towers when your team needs it. Every once in a while, you will have you sacrifice yourself so your squishies can escape. Know this. Accept this.

Use Decisive Strike on high priority targets like the Annie with her stun up or Malz with his Ult or Katarina while she is casting Death Lotus.

If you are doing well as a tank, people will tend to focus the same target as you. DO NOT ATTACK THE ENEMY'S TANK! If you can finish him off with your Ult, do it. Otherwise, ignore him until all the enemy squishies are dead.

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Garen can be a lot of fun to play, but people will sometimes complain very loudly about how easy Garen is to use, and that it takes no skill to "Spin to Win" when you are doing well. Ignore them, and just laugh as they facecheck the bushes you are in once again and spin them to death.

And as a reminder, no guide no matter HOW well written, or how much time was spent on it, will make you a good player. You have to have skill to back up a good build. Don't down-vote just because you lost a game with my build.

You can check out my League of Legends blog HERE.