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Garen Build Guide by Lbrand

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Lbrand

Off Tank Garen - I'll lead the charge (under construction)

Lbrand Last updated on February 14, 2013
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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: 4

Honor Guard

Defense: 26


Utility: 0

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Who is this guy?
I'm Laurens Brand 23 years old at the moment and pretty new in the league. I play this game since Oktober 2012 and still have a lot to learn about many champs and advanced gameplay. Still though I think I got enough experience to write a guide for one of my most played champions. You don't have to be a pro to know what's wrong and right. Still I would love it if the readers give some feedback in score or discussion

What is your favorite champion?
Really hard question to ask. Although I try to play as many champions as possible I have few favorites depending what role I play.

My favorite Top player is Garen, since he was cheap I got him quick and started to play with him, and even now I played tons of different other champs he remains my favorite on top. I love Garen mainly because he's sooo hard to kill thanks to his sustain and decisive strike combinition.

My favorite mid player is The grim reaper Karthus just the seeing how ones hope disapear when they try to get away and see that red pilar what else can I say.

My favorite jungler: used to be Amumu but since the patch I haven't been as succesfull as in S2 for that I play know Xin Zhao. His early game ganks are just bad ***.

My favorite adc: Ezreal is the nr.1 by a landslide. I loved ashe because her global skill shot ultimate. Because it's a skill shot and you can snipe one down. When i had the 100% skill shot champ in my hands I was sold during the first match I played him.

Favorite support: Lulu cutest support and soooo fun to play :3... squirrel

Why making this guide?
I was looking at some Garen guides out of interest and found that most players either build him FULL ad without much sustain. More like a bruiser then a tank. Or the other extreme tons of sustain and no damage. I like to share my build with you guys and hope that (new) Garen players get something out it.

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Throughout Valoran, the resolve of Demacia's military is alternately celebrated or despised, but always respected. Their ''zero tolerance'' moral code is strictly upheld by civilians and soldiers alike. In combat, this means Demacian troops may not make excuses, flee, or surrender under any circumstance. These principles are espoused to their forces by unrivaled demagogues who lead by example. Garen, the valiant warrior who bears the title ''the Might of Demacia'', is the paradigm to which these leaders are compared. Thousands of great heroes have risen and fallen on the bloody battlefields between Demacia and its preeminent rival, Noxus. It was beneath their mighty banners of war that Garen first met steel with Katarina, the Sinister Blade. The infantrymen who beheld this event (and survived) commented that it seemed as though the two were locked in a mortal waltz against a symphony of clashing blades.

Garen, the pride of the Demacian military and leader of the Dauntless Vanguard, returned from this battle breathless for the first time in his career, though some speculate that this was due to reasons other than exhaustion. The plausibility of these rumors was bolstered when, in every instance thereafter, Garen seized the opportunity to encounter the Sinister Blade again. A paragon of Demacian ethic, Garen never entertained such allegations, for he knew others couldn't understand. Even simply the pursuit of a worthy opponent on the battlefield is, to a true warrior, the reason to rise each morning. The promise of one, particularly so beautifully and diametrically opposed, is the validation of his existence.

''The most effective way to kill an opponent is to slice through the man next to him.''
-- Garen, on front line strategy

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Summoner Spells

I Personally use Teleport and Flash on garen.

Ofcourse other options are always open.

recommended summoners spells for Garen:

tralalala for some reason i can t tab this sht!!!!
aaafdfafffalIgnitefor some reason i can t tab this sht!!!!!!!!!Teleport

tralalala for some reason i can t tab this sht!!!!
aaafdfafffalFlashfor some reason i can t tab this sht!!!!!!!!!!!Barrier

Flash The most favorite summoner spell among them all great for closing gabs in chases or to get out of one when properly used.

Teleport I use teleport for 2 reasons. The first and most obvious is that you are incredibly mobile across the map. Especially when well warded. Its a great spell to get a gank on bot. When your lvl 11 with garen you should have (or almost have) all early game items. Bot Lane is about lv 9 by then. Getting a gank then will mostly result in a 1 or 2 kills. Bot laners often can't or won't turret dive. But you can ^^

Secondly during the laning phase, if you see bot is doing fairly well you want to stay on your lane. Farm and if possible kill your opponent as much as possible. But when you are on 3k gold its time to recall, to minimize your absence on your lane I use teleport to get back to it quicker then I left.

Ignite when you dive that turret land your Demacian Justice upon your foe and he still breaths? Ignite does the job to secure your kill and get home before dinner (and out of the turrets reach)

Barrier When you are evenly matched against one another some extra durability is always welcome in a fight to the death. Especially when in team fights the opponent is smart enough to focus you instead of your adc.

Other possibilities

tralalala for some reason i can t tab this sht!!!!
aaafdafffalGhostfor some reason i can t tab this sht!!!!!!!!!!!Heal

tralalala for some reason i can t tab this sht!!!!
aaafldfaflCleansefor some reason i can t tab this sht!!!!!!!!Exhaust

Ghost some people prefer ghost over flash to get away or close the gab and on champs it works better as well. Garen however has Decisive Strike as a speed up, if this ain't enough for you. You can always pick Ghost

Heal Great spell to get your opponent mad, when he thinks he got you you use this spell and the tables are turned. Although it can work, I wont recommend it. The passive Perseverance grants you a sick health regen out of battle. Personnaly I try to get out of battle by using Decisive Strike and get some health regenerated this way before you can engage again with the favors turned. Thanks to do the S3 patch Heal is a lot more effective in team fights. Probably the most powerful one.

Cleanse is great to get out of a stun, and I actually recommend it if your opponent has a lot CC in it. But in most cases I take enough with the slow remover on Decisive Strike and build a quicksilver.

ExhaustA great escape mechanism and a way to ensure you opponents won't get away. Since you have Decisive Strike and probably flash/ghost I think its a bit over the top. I also find this spell lose its value against opponents as Master Yi, Olaf, Rengar. Champs who cant be disabled/slowed or have major gab closers.

In any case never pick Revive, you won't die that often and the cool down on it is enormous.
And if you pick Clarity you must be seriously stoned, Garen has no mana/energy what so ever.

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Garen is an offensive tank like said before. You want therefor have sustain and deal damage at the same time. The runes mentioned above can be switched with other runes fitting the role you want to play.

I picked Greater Seal of Armor but you can also pick Greater Seal of Health.

When I picked the runes for Garen I wanted to cover 4 area's:

  • Attack damage
  • Armor
  • Magic Resist
  • Health

    Greater Mark of Attack Damage Marks are primary there for offense, hence i want my attack damage here. I also could have picked Greater Mark of Armor but it wouldn't give as much armor as the seals. And my attack damage would have gone to the quints which ain't wrong but i prefer something else there.

    Greater Quintessence of Health Gives me roughly 75 extra health in the beginning. This gives you an advantage in the early game. The damage output of all champions are roughly the same (not that much difference in attack damage) but you will have so more health to get through. But the main reason i pick flat health quints is because of Garen's passive.
    His passive Perseverance grants you 0.5% of your max health each second extra health regen if your out of combat. This means that your passive will heal you more when you have more hp. Since I build almost a Doran's Shield at the start i rely on this passive to keep me healthy.

    Greater Seal of Armor Glyps is magic territory hence i pick my armor seals here. Your opponent will be in most cases ad hence you want flat armor seals. To get through the beginning.

    Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist Like I said before in most cases will your opponent be ad orientated and do u want as much mr mid/late game. Thats why I take the scaling for maximum results.

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Although you can hold on to a standard set of items you wanna buy, best is to build to the situation you have.

Start Items

Who knows????? halelujafor some reason i can't tab this sht!

Doran's Shield I love to start with this item, gives you everything you want early game as Garen. Extra health, armor and health regen. Downside you don't have potions at your disposal. Therefor I rely on Perseverance for my lane sustain with additional health regen from doran's.

Health Potion when you don't like the play style with doran's shield you can alternate to a lot of health potions. Great thing about garen, he doesn't use mana and there's a fat chance your opponent does. You can either outlast them on mana base or on pot base. I put a sight ward in the starter pack to protect you from early ganks on top. Alternate you can buy 2 wards and 2 health potions less.

Boots of Speed Like I noted before, when I get countered by Teemo on top I take these boots and 3 health potions.

How to play against Teemo
Almost everyone knows that Teemo is the nr. 1 counter of Garen. He's ranged, fast and hard to get. But the little pest is also VERY squishy and doesn't have that insane attack speed at early level's. Hence if you want to make a difference against Teemo u gotta do it quick. Use the bushes (pre lv 6) to prevent Teemo from harassing you. Use your speed of Decisive Strike and your Boots of Speed to close the gab. Once silenced Teemo really ain't that much of a threat to Garen. Spin using Judgment to deal massive amount of damage to the little critter and use your courage to get away safely. Believe me Teemo won't be as confident as he once was. Once reached lv 6 get him low ASAP and finish with Demacian Justice before he spams the bushes with his shrooms.

After lv 6 don't chase Teemo into the bushes. IT'S A TRAP! I know this might seem obvious but many players just dive in anyway and get owned by shrooms. Play defensive you got the sustain to deal with his harass look carefully where he put his shrooms as much as possible. And when he comes to poke you with his blind you can always counter engage. (before u get to him the blind is mostly gone) But again don't chase him into bushes. In the end you have a decent farm 0 deaths and a Teemo that has 0 kills and not that much farm as he hoped to have. In team battles you can run in and spin to win ^^.
End how to play against Teemo

a very aggressive approach would be a Long Sword with 2 health potions but then you go probably more bruiser then off tank. If you want that I suggest you want to read another guide or follow another guide for your build.

(bruiser is focused on attack who has also sustain, a off tank focused on sustain who deals also a decent amount of damage)

Early Game

muhahahahahahahahahahaahahahaha Emblem of valor

The Brutalizer I rush this one simply because u can deal a lot of damage with it, without having a lot AD.

emblem of valor and Ruby Crystal are the ingredients for Garen's core items and give you by chance also good lane sustain.

Core items


The Black Cleaver Since you won't have a lot of attack damage as an Offensive Tank. You'll mostly need some armor penetration. Black cleaver provides Garen with some attack damage, enough armor penetration and some health. Every aspect of this item gets fully utilized by a champion as Garen. Hence a core item.

Runic Bulwark Gives health, armor, magic resist and extra health regen sounds like everything a tank needs. Especially since Force of Nature got out of the game the number of decent magic resist items is very low. This item has become a hot item for many tank players, Garen no exception. Although many other champions use this item (also a lot supports) it fits better on Garen then other champions because of the passive on courage. Increasing his armor and magic resist by 20%. Thats why Garen needs only 1 item to get a lot of resist against both ad and ap users.
Even if a support tells you he's building Aegis just continue building it. You are most likely to survive longer in team fights and thus the bonus aura is available longer for your team.

Offensive items

Frozen Mallet pro's of this item, its a prefect match of ad and sustain in 1 item. 700 hp and 30 ad and a nice passive to slow your enemy. When you go for this item I also would suggest you take either ninja tabi or merc's. Since you'll slow your opponent you won't need the movemenet speed from boots of swiftness.

Atma's Impaler a lot people love to build crit early. Having critical strikes really makes it easier to kill your enemy, but I wont recommend it as an early item. Its just tooo expensive for 15% crit and 45 armor. The bonus ad you get early game is nearly nothing. I would sugest you take it after you build some HP. (about 3K)
(my example build grants 4.7k HP and so 70 AD on atma's)

Mercurial Scimitar It gives some decent magic resist and as it contains a BF sword also a decent amount of AD. The real reason you want this item is because of the quicksilver build into it. I would recommend it when your opponent has a lot of stun/nuke combinations (example Veigar)

Infinity Edge I personally wont go for it only for the sole reason you don't build any sustain with it. But if you got 5 items on sustain and want a high damage output item to make you not only tanky but dangerous as well I can perfectly understand you want this one. You build critical strike chance, a lot of AD as well the 250% damage on crits. Depending on the build you make and the opponents you face this item can be a very good choice.

Deffencive items

Warmog's Armor best HP item in League of Legends no doubt. And with Garen's passive and the health regen of Warmog's your health regen will be ridiculous high.

Sunfire Cape when you want to deal damage by just existing this the item to get. Because Garen is tanky he will have some good quality time in team fights. The damage output on the passive ain't huge but will help certainly help the fights. Besides the passive it's a good armor/hp item.

Randuin's Omen Against a AD heavy team a real must have, the AS reduction combined with health and armor is just brutal to those guys.

Banshee's Veil I would sugest to get this item in the same situations as mercurial's scimitar. Against an ap team always good to heavy one.

Guardian Angel Since you're tanky, you won't die as often. I won't buy it for the passive unless you really need to do it all alone. Aside from the passive, it's a good armor/magic resist item which works nice with Courage for more resist. But for that I think the item is very expensive.


Boots of Swiftness my favorite, your mobile across the map and it's a darn good item if you want to chase down that adc or apc in a team fight. I build the resist in my other items.

Ninja Tabi recommended against ad teams when all armor is welcome.

Mercury's Treads recommended against ap teams and teams with a lot CC (together with quicksilver).

Enchantment: Alacrity to get even more speed to chase down your victims

Enchantment: Captain Garen leads the charge, but if your team can't keep up it's meaningless tanking. When you don't need speed to chase down, or when you got a slow team get this one.

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Pros / Cons

Every champ has it benefits and weaknesses.


  • No cost skills
  • Easy to play/learn
  • Strong in teamfights and 1 vs 1
  • Silence
  • Slow remover + speed up in 1 good for chase or to escape
  • Can carry the team once fed
  • DEMACIA!!!

  • Called noob a lot for playing a no cost champ
  • Long cooldown's on Courage and Ultimate
  • Get ganked a lot (sometimes its positive --> double kill)
  • No ranged abilities
  • No real gab closers
  • DEMACIA!!!! on EVERY skill