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Garen General Guide by Shaftstack

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Shaftstack

Garen Topside Tankage (Don't Gank me Bro!)

Shaftstack Last updated on March 9, 2013
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This is my first guide so enjoy. It is mostly a Build guide at the moment and contains little gameplay substance/advice. Just my thoughts on paper :)

This guide is based on heavy early damage/armor then moving to a tank build to compensate for the AD format mastery build.


  • Strong early game
  • Scaling armor is superb
  • Hard to kill
  • Excellent harrasment with "Q"
  • Can hold toplane against most and escapes from ganks extremely well
  • High CS Rate
  • Alot of money
  • Demacian Justice, enough said

  • Less MR than most Garen builds
  • When on CD you are a sitting duck and your harrassment capabilities are limited
  • Low health for a tank (can be corrected by changing build to suit your needs)

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These runes are pretty much the standard for Garen it seems. I won't go into too much details of why I choose these as some of the other guides have already proven the math and field tests show they have done well :)


9x "Glyph of Scaling MR" with 6x "Glyph of Magic Resist" + 3x "Glyph of Scaling MR"
-This will still give a much higher starting MR buff and works well. A total of +16MR at 18 and a starting MR of +8.

3x "Quint of Attack Damage" with 3x "Quint of Magic Resist"
-This will assist with giving you more early game Magic Resist. Since Toplane has more AD type champions it is not a necessity but this can really be a big help against Hybrid type Champions such as Jax or AP gankers from midlane or jungle.

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The Mastery setup I have chosen is definitely geared towards AD but this is to help get early game kills or dominate when a friendly gank comes your way. This also helps you secure CS and allow you to poke well with “Q”.

If you put Quints of Speed you can drop “Wanderer” for “Durability” and “Veteran’s Scars”. This is helpful for early game survivability and giving you a bit more breathing room if you are being pushed.
Note: If you utilize the full tank build you will definitely be able to hold your own, but will notice more issues with CS, securing kills, or running into dreaded Chogath/Singe top stalemates.

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"Starting Items"

I typically start out with these. If I do not have concerns about ganks based on the lineup or am more concerned being able to hold top I will drop the Vision Ward for 3x Health Potion and snatch up a Vision Ward on my first recall. In most cases when I first recall I have enough to buy Ninja Tabi and another Vision Ward. If all goes well I have been able to pick up my Avarice Blade as well.

“Early Game”

Ninja Tabi - Extremely useful toplane. With Garen you barely miss “Tenacity” from Mercury's Treads. Based on who’s up there with you, such as Chogath, Jax, or Singed, you may pick Mercury's Treads for the MR boost.

Avarice Blade - Money, money, money, money. This item is amazing for Garen and his CS capabilities. I rarely turn it into a Youmuu's Ghostblade just because of the amount of cash this thing can turn out.

“Up to Mid-Game”

Emblem of valor Emblem of Valor - The building point for Aegis of the Legion. I separated this out in this portion of the guide because sometimes I wait to build Aegis if things are going well, but I always get this early on.

Cloak of Agility - The building point for Infinity Edge, the core of Garen’s DPS. I either get this, a B. F. Sword, or a Pickaxe prior to building Aegis of the Legion just so I can have some added DPS early game. You can skip this if you are just straight schooling top, but the added Crit Chance for Judgement is helpful.

Aegis of the Legion - By the time the lane portion of the game is over and you have held the top well you should have your “Aegis of the Legion”. This is by far one of my favorite items. It’s a bit expensive for the amount it gives Garen but “Avarice Blade” should help offset the price. Garen boosts the value of this item with “Courage” making it a solid buy and making team fights a lot easier to swallow.

“Late Game. Let’s finish this.”

Endgame purchasing can be a pain for Garen. Either you’re doing rough and your team sucks and you are missing out on all the cash, or you have so much to spend you can’t decide on what you want next. I prefer the latter. The order of these items can be changed based on how you are doing. Such as if you are dominating top, or they haven’t been able to deal much damage to you, you can skip GA and go straight for Infinity Edge.

Spirit Visage – This item is great bang for its buck. It’s cheap and has a good amount of MR/CD reduction.

Guardian Angel - This item isn’t as commonly used for tanks as much as for ADC but it’s in just about every Garen build because of “Courage”. As one of the few items with MR and Armor it’s a plus for Garen as it won’t take up much space but gives him a sufficient boost of both forms of defense.

Infinity Edge - I know, I know, what’s this doing in a tank build? Well because it kick’s *** that’s why. The corner stone of most ADC builds, this item pound for pound is great for Garen. If you are doing great I would skip Guardian Angel (snatch up “Null-Magic Mantle” at least) and build this thing out. If you notice that your team is steamrolling bottom or mid and DPS is not an issue for your team this item can wait.

Runic Bulwark - Upgrading Aegis of the Legion to this can give you a bit of boost on your MR and doubles the MR of the Buff.

Enchantment: Captain - Maybe it’s the Alistar in me that loves the “Captain” enchantment for boots. Captain can be extremely effective when chasing down enemy champions with “Decisive Strike” and allowing your teammates to keep up. It also is helpful when you are charging in and your team is running away from a teamfight.

Youmuu’s Ghostblade - The “Youmuu’s Ghostblade” really does not belong here, but if for some reason you followed my guide like it was the gospel you already have most of it build. If you are done with “Avarice Blade” or its time for the final push go ahead and build this item up and finish the game.


These items are all viable picks for Garen based on the situation or the opposition’s capabilities.

Kindlegem – Nice little gem here with its CD reduction and Health. This item is great as it builds into good items with CD reduction that do not contain Mana or AP.

Warmog's Armor - This is an extremely effective health item for Garen. As I have stated, Garen is significantly low on Max Health, but makes up for it with "Courage". If you build this item, build it early on (such as right after Avarice Blade.) to truly benefit from it's health increase.

Randuin's Omen – “Randuin’s Omen” is another strong item from Garen’s toolbox. This item has a lot of Armor and decent health. The only concern I have with this is by the time you spend 3100 on it you will wish you had more MR. This can be fixed by dropping Aegis of the Legion and adding a Spirit Visage. (See build #2).

Thornmail – I have been laughed at for this one as Garen. “Pfft, Thornmail? WTF?”. But for its cost this item is pretty solid. With Garen’s Courage you get 120 Armor for 2,200 smackaroos. Compared to the 84 from Randuin's Omen for 3,100 it seems like a steal. If your toplane is pure AD and has a habit to auto-attack you use this one early on.

Mercury's Treads – This is a great alternative to Ninja Tabi. If you got a hybrid on top, or someone with a lot of slows, use this.

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Toplane Advice

Early Game:

Initially I just poke a lot with "Q". Generally when people see you running at them with "Q" they jet off allowing you to effectively zone them of a lot of XP.

If all goes well you can be level 3 by the time they are just hitting 2. This is even if you are helping the jungler with the Blue Golem. Once you are 3 you should try to take them. Ensure your ward is up and beware of gankers. I typically can land FB with Garen by level 4 and maintain a good 2 level lead over the other Top.

Mid Game:

Typically by mid-game there is one of two things going on.
1) Your doing average and the rest of the team is a bunch of feeders.
2) Your dominating and are about to carry the rest of the team for the rest of the game.

In the case of #1 I'm not saying I am uber awesome or am some sort of pro, but Garen has the "Recommended" tag for a reason. Early to mid game he carry's himself. He's fun to play, easy to learn, and is tough to kill. Even if your opponent on top is giving you heck, your passive survivability will allow you to escape most fights without giving up a kill.

If #1 is the case you can still carry the team if you play smart. One option is to give up your turret and start roaming. This will allow the top to push a bit and maybe set them up for a gank. If they believe you have given up top they might be greedy enough to solo push to the second turret. If they don't come back, go ahead and clean up your lane as needed and continue to help the other lanes.

If #2 is the case then all is well, enjoy the win.

Late Game:

With this build late game isn't as fun as some of the others. I credit Palthios's "Crit to Win" build for most of my Top Lane experience's. (Check it out here: Your text to link here...). That build is for mostly straight DPS and suit's well with a good tank (such as Ali or Malph.) In this build you are the tank (or off tank) and you will not have much DPS to tank down ADC's, AP Mid's, or much else solo at end game (unless they were on the back-end of your teams steamroller).

Things to remember late game:
1) Don't be greedy. Garen is a bad mo fo but can be knocked down a peg or too off guard. If you are going to enter a 1v1 or 2v2 fight be careful and be ready to run. Bring the ADC or Jungler if you are going for a quick 2v2 skirmish.
2) Watch your health. In this build if your team didn't fair well Mid-Game you will be too squishy to tank effectively. You will not have the Armor/MR that you were hoping for and now do not have the health either. Luckily this build is mostly anti-AD so you don't have to worry about crits to much but a well fed AP mid can be the end of you.
3) Tank those turrets. Garen is a great roamer and a great leader. Ping those turrets and go for a three cap. He can clean up a lane lickety split with "E" and tank a turret effectively with "W".

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Garen is one of my favorite champs. He's hardy, effective, and a pain in most champion's ***es.
Give Garen a fish and he will eat for a day, teach Garen how to fish and he will kill every fu**ing champion on the board with a spinning fishing pole of death and eat forever.


Don't have many right now as I have been supporting alot, I will be adding more as I start cleaning house again :)


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