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Garen Build Guide by joe221

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League of Legends Build Guide Author joe221

Garen Ultimate solo top

joe221 Last updated on April 11, 2012
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Top Lane
Ranked #11 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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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ARCHIEVED : 11/04/2012 due to changes in some champions and viability of Garen, due to being so many more viable champions for solotop and unless you have a good early game your lategame just isn't good enough.

Hey everyone, this is my first guide, please be fair and don't -1 Without a comment. If you +1 be sure to comment too :) Any tips/improvements do help alot

Guide is still under construction and could take some time to complete, please bare with me because it does take time and effort to write the copious amounts that are required!

I hope my guide helps you become a better Garen!

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Ok, so masteries.
To start with for a beginner playing Garen 21/9/0 is the safest bet, giving you that little bit extra durability while allowing you to still dish out that amazing damage.

Offence Tree

1/1 - Improves Ghosts Movement speed from 27% to 35%. While not being a great increase it's needed to get to the next level and can get you away from those tricky spots or into combat that tiny bit faster.

3/3 - Increases attack damage by 3. (makes it easier to last hit.
4/4 - Increases attack speed by 4%, again helps with last hitting but mainly to get down to the lower skills.

4/4 - 4% Cooldown Reduction, Great for Garen being mainly reliant on cooldowns.

1/1 - 10% Armor Penetration. Why wouldn't you want this being a melee champion you'd be mad to skip it.

1/1 - 10% Magic Penetration. The only reason I take this is for my ultimate, so many times I've and they've been left on 10 or so Hit points and the 10% makes all the difference.

3/3 - Increases damage by 1.5%, again useful for last hitting and 1.5% more damage, can't really argue against that.

3/3 - Increases Armor Penetration by 6 (Note - This is SIX not PERCENT there is a difference which I will explain later). Increases you damage by that tiny bit more (Every little helps)

1/1 - Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 40% health, Great for last hitting and due to how you must play Garen to be effective solo top most of the time you'll have champions at 40% or under.

Defence Tree

1/3 - Increases Magic resit by 2. Can't knock extra MR!

Hardness 3/3 - Increases Armor by 6. The reason I choose 3 points in hardness and not in resistance is because pretty much all solo top champions deal physical damage and against that physical champion is where you will be spending most game it's preferable to the extra MR.

4/4 - Increases health by 6 per level (108 at level 18) not alot but I find myself surviving on around 10 hit points often so without this I'd be a goner more often.

1/1 - Increases Health by 30. 30 extra health at level 1. Both makes you more tanky but increases your opponents fear of you (I'll go into more detail about fear later.

But, when you've better learnt how to play Garen, there are slight differences available. Such as instead of defensive tree you can go with 21/0/9 for extra move speed.

Utility Tree

1/1 - Reduces cooldown on Flash by 15seconds decent to have, when using my 21/9/0 I've sometimes found that I've been about 10s off escaping with my flash or securing that last kill for ACE so can help in certain situations.

3/3 - Reduces time spent dead by 10%, well, being the Might of Demacia your not going to die much, but you are going to be initiating so chances are you will be focused, while you'll be extremely hard to kill there are freak occurrences where you will and those extra few seconds could help you in a multitude of ways.

4/4 - Increases movement speed by 2%. The only reason for Garen to poke into the utility tree. 2% extra movespeed! All the time! Wow. Whats not to like? When facing fast opponents or those with dodges etc EXTREMELY important to have that movement speed.

1/1 - Increase Neutral monster buff duration by 20%, because you kill the enemy ganker who has red and blue and it lasts longer, means more slowing and longer cool down reduction, plus 20% extra Baron! Wowzers!

If I'm playing Blind pick I will normally keep with my 21/9/0 build because that extra health really changes peoples opinions on you and even a tryndamere trying to kill you has to do ALOT at level 1 to kill a Garen with 800hp.

The only time I use 21/0/9 is when I'm playing Draft. I can't express how important it is to see what the enemy team is doing and the champions there picking to see if you need the extra movement speed.

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Greater Mark of Desolation 1.66 Armor Penetration each - 15 Armor Penetration with 9. The best melee marks possible increasing damage output significantly.

1.41 Armor each - 13 Armor with 9 - Going into lane at level 1 with 50 Armor around about 33% physical damage reduction if I remember correctly, your already tanky!

1.49 Magic Resist Each - 13 Magic Resist with 9 - Again makes you alot more tanky both early game and late game, helping ward off any skill shots you can't dodge or ganks etc.

26 Health each - 78 Health with 3 - Again makes your enemy more scared of the level 1, 800hp Garen charging at them and beefs you up even more early game.

There are a few different runes that you could choose

Other Viable Choices

Greater Quintessence of desolation Increase Armor Penetration by about 10 this does help alot and is noticeable, but in my opinion not as helpful as the health that the fortitude quints give.

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Core Items

- Doran's shield in most circumstances is the best starting item possible for Garen. With the amazing amounts of hit points and armor it's just too nice to say no to and increases the enemies fear of you.

- Boots boots boots. The choice is so difficult to choose which ones you want whether its or while normally I go with Boots of Swiftness in most cases due to being able to out of Slows. But if there are more than 3 major CCs on there team E.G. Stuns, Fears, Charms, Taunts then I'd choose Mercury's Treads, even though being the tank against a good team these wont be targeted on you it's still important to have the 35% less timer on it during laning or ganks.

- AD, CDR, ARP and the amount it costs is 1337! With this it allows you to take caster minions from full to dead at level 9 with one Most people would argue that it's better to go straight into being more tanky and I used to agree until champions started to survive on low hit points as I faced better and tougher opponents, but with this I seem to be able to kill most squishies with one combo until around about level 16 while still being able to effectively tank people out with the passive from (giving 25 Armor and Magic Resist if you've last hit 25 minions from getting the skill not hard considering your Garen solo top)

- Armor, Health, Aoe Damage with great synergy to Garen's This is the perfect item for Garen giving him enough armor and health to tank late game aswell as the 35 damage from his sunfire per second. Imagine charging into the enemy team while there all stacked, silencing blah blah... Then "JUDGMENT!" while dealing damage from Sunfire Cape, there going to have to scatter to avoid losing all there health to just the tank. And lastly this item again adds alot of fear and makes people have to target you due to having high damage output.

- Not only having the highest amount of Magic resist in the game, giving +8% movement speed and 0.35% of your maximum health as regen per second It's cheap too! This item is pretty much all you need to stay alive. Once you've got this the core build is finished and your good to go. With your passive and the health regen you get from this you will regen like a boss not even really needing to go to base for health after being jumped by 5. The movement speed along with Decisive Strike, Ghost and Youmuu's Ghostblade. Makes you Uncatchable, Unescapeable and to be honest extremely scary when charging in to initiate against the enemy team allowing you to get there before they even know whats hit them.

- This is where most people go ? Why build Youmuu's... It's not cost effective blah blah, well having so many games played as Garen I find it to be the "tip of the iceberg" as you might say. 15% cooldown reduction... Any Garen player is limited by cooldowns. And 15% reduction is just wow, more silences, more spins, more 36% damage reduction and can't forget that amazing ultimate Demacian Justice or Execute! I also find Garen not that strong an initiator as other champions (Amumu, Rammus, Malphite etc) So with the active from Youmuu's it kind of makes up for it, ( , , ) You'll be running like a mad man, then for some reason your enemies try to slow you and BAM, them slows are gone. Overall I find this item to indeed be a necessity for initiation, running, damage etc.

Optional Items

- "Why isn't this item in your core build?" To be honest it's not necessary for survival. After you have Sunfire and Force of Nature the enemies are going to have to be doing ALOT to take you down. But if both teams have high damage output I normally go with this because of the 68 armor & 38 magic resist, not even mentioning the amazine passive (Revival). But sometimes you'll find yourself on an extremely tanky team. I once found myself on a team with:
Solo top (me)
AP Carry
AD Carry

You might be thinking ... Wow. What a team... Unkillable. Well to a degree thats quite a justifiable statement but we seriously lacked damage, so this is why Guardian Angel isn't in my core build, because sometimes it's just better to build a DPS item, E.G. or

- Ooooh. When I get this item I just feel like a wrecking ball. Every time I buy it, it still surprises me as to how much it increases my damage output. "80 Attack damage" Wow. It's a hell of alot considering Garen's High AD ratios and the fact that Judgment CAN "crit" and CAN "crit" for the extra 50% damage. Because of the amount that it increases Garen's DPS, I have considered many times to put it in the core section but, I think other items are just "more" important for this build.

- Like 1000 hp. This item makes you go from Tanky to pretty much unkillable. But you have to be careful buying this, would you want to focus a Garen with 150 Armor, 150 Magic resist and 3500 health? This is the reason it's in my optional guide, you need to make sure your a high priority target while still being tanky enough to survive alot of damage. If you find yourself in need of this extra health be my guest buy it, it will increase survivability so much (I find myself liking this with Infinity edge, because you HAVE to be focused to avoid the enemey team from being torn apart while having that extra TON of health.)

- 45 Armor (on par with Sunfire cape) +18% crit. I think this item is great for Garen as any "good" Garen player should know having around about 2200 flat health (without items) at level 18 which means you get about 44 damage from the passive without taking any items into consideration.

-The formulae for working out damage bonus. -- Health * 0.02 -- This will give you the exact amount of damage you will receive based on the health you have E.G.

Flat Health - 2200 * 0.02 = 44
Warmog's (non stacked) - 920 * 0.02 = 18.4 (rounded to 18)
Warmog's (Stacked) - 1270 * 0.02 = 25.4 (rounded to 25)
Sunfire Cape - 450 * 0.02 = 9

I'll explain later on in the "Builds Section" when/if I buy Atma's

- One of the best late game items for Garen due to having the High ARP which is crucial to Garen's damage. Simply, if your 3 or more of your opponents have more than 75 armor get this after your Force of Nature (if you chose to buy it) and you'll still be able to deal with them appropriately. But, you'll find yourself not actually dealing that much damage to your opponents, you'll still need to get your Infinity edge or Atmog's, to actually warrant enemies attacking you.

More items to be added soon!

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Summoner Spells

My choices

- Flash. Why wouldn't you take it? Perfect for turret diving, getting into combat, getting out of combat, silencing that Katarina who's devestating your team, the uses of flash are endless, I recommend taking this spell all the time.

- "But you've already got Flash? Why take ghost aswell?" Garen is a poor initiator and without you'll find it incredibly difficult to start off those team fights. Personally I LOVE ghost, it's my second favourite summoner spell (right behind flash) I have a habit of pushing the lane a little too hard and being caught close to the enemy turret, well ghost has saved me from death 9/10 times that happens and 1/3 of those times even allows me to counter gank!

Other good options

- Lasts 2.5 seconds... 210 second cooldown.. Is it really worth it? Compared to other spells I'd say are better. Want to chase an opponent down? Ghost. Want to run from an opponent? Ghost. Ghost lasts so much longer and therefore enables you to catch up to your opponent easier or get away faster, the only reason you should ever pick exhaust over ghost is if the enemy team has a few HEAVY AD/AS champions, E.G. Master Yi, Tryndamere etc.

- If your new to Solo top, Garen, or the game in general, this is a good pick, enables you to go to base more without consequences of turret getting pushed or opponent taking over you on farm/xp. Can also be used to quickly help gank or save teammates being ganked across the map. Remember you can Teleport to Teemo's Shrooms, Shaco's Jack in the Boxs', Wards etc.

- Just like exhaust, if the enemy team has high AS/AD champions it probably means they'll have alot of lifesteal, you'll want to get a quick ignite on them and then DPS them down fast so they can't lifesteal too much for you to kill them. But I however prefer to leave this to the AP carry who almost always takes it. Also your enemies wont be left on low enough health most of the time for you to warrant taking a spell that relies on that special occasion in lane to use.

- Get out of stuns, charms, taunts etc. But useless on slows for Garen with his if enemy team has LOTS of CC this is a good spell to take, will increase your survivability alot, but remember even if the enemy stuns you while your you still deal the damage. So they may as well have not stunned you at all!

Spells I wouldn't recommend

- Passive + Force of Nature = 0.85% of health regenerated a second... Ok, so heal "might" be useful early game for the extra 200hp when PvP top. But other than that... Late game the heal isn't really worth it.. Leave it for the support.

- Your not trying to get yourself killed, so why would you take a spell that relies on you being dead? If you had took a different spell maybe you wouldn't be dead...

- "Could" be useful in the right situation, but I'd leave it to the support 99.99% of the time, cause your Garen and might aswell just facecheck that bush!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't take these!

- What are you support? NO! And erm... You kind of don't have a mana pool...

- Ability power is good for... Well nothing, Attack speed, I suppose it might get you another hit or 2 on a turret which isn't really worth the spell slot, I once took it just to make myself Cho-Gath size, was fun for 12 seconds but totally useless other than that

- Oooh, Smite. Useful for securing buffs, Baron, Dragon, maybe getting a minion kill or taking out a pet quickly, but why on earth would you take this opposed to other better spells... Leave it for the jungler. K?