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Garen Build Guide by jpaul2077

Top Paul Chung's Diamond Garen Guide

Top Paul Chung's Diamond Garen Guide

Updated on October 18, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author jpaul2077 Build Guide By jpaul2077 352 21 757,057 Views 27 Comments
352 21 757,057 Views 27 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author jpaul2077 Garen Build Guide By jpaul2077 Updated on October 18, 2021
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Runes: 90% of my games

1 2 3 4
Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Nimbus Cloak

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


1 2
99% of my games
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


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Top Lane
Ranked #14 in
Top Lane
Win 52%
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Top Lane Ranked #14 in
Top Lane
Win 52%
More Garen Runes


Items during laning phase
Most Consistent Mythic
Mythic when you want to Split/Snowball

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Champion Build Guide

Paul Chung's Diamond Garen Guide

By jpaul2077
Introduction & Who I Am
Greetings, my name is Paul Chung. I'm a Diamond Garen main with a 61% win rate on Garen.

I peaked as the rank 10 Garen in NA season 10 and I am here to teach you how you can also climb playing Garen The Might of Demacia!

If you would like to see me play some Garen LIVE come check out my stream at

If you are still not convinced you can feel free to check out my stats on my Main and here are my stats on Garen in general.
So Paul Chung, why should I play Garen you may ask? Well, let us go over Garen's strengths and weaknesses.

1. INCREDIBLY easy to execute kit.
2. His passive Perseverance allows for a lot of leniency in lane when you make mistakes.
3. His ultimate ability Demacian Justice is one of the most powerful execute tools in the game.

1. EXTREMELY KITEABLE - Garen relies heavily on his Q Decisive Strike or Flash to gap close.
2. NO UTILITY - If you can't out tank or kill your opponents then you might feel pretty useless (which is why it's important to get a lead in laning phase.)
3. EASILY COUNTERED - A lot of Garen's current counters such as Kayle, Camille, and Darius are all popular meta picks that can leave Garen vulnerable if you first pick him in a game.

Many people consider Garen to only be good at noob stomping, and this is fairly accurate because Garen thrives against lower the skill levels. A lot of times you can laugh as players on a flashy "high skill cap" champion try to "outplay" you but in reality they only outplay themselves!

However even players in the highest ELO brackets are susceptible to Garen and his simple kit. This is shown by many players consistently achieving high elo across multiple regions with Garen as their primarily played champion. I will teach you how I personally hit the rank of Diamond with Garen as my most played champ in this guide.

So, what are you waiting for? Queue for top, read the guide, and try out Garen today!
★ I usually end up going Conqueror around 90 % of my games. Right now, conqueror is one of the most powerful keystones in the game and Garen is one of the best champions at stacking it (Using E Judgment on a champion will instantly charge up your Conqueror stacks. .

I like running Triumph as Garen has no other ways to use the other 2 runes in the tree being a Manaless champion that doesn't really build lifesteal.

Legend: Tenacity
Legend: Tenacity is the best stat for Garen to have. Tenacity means slows and stuns have less effect which helps you reach your target easier. Since Garen's E doesn't benefit from Legend: Alacrity nor does he auto attack frequently enough to make good use of Legend: Bloodline Tenacity is your go-to rune every time you are running the Precision Tree.

Last Stand
As for the last rune, I usually end up going Last Stand as it is better than Coup de Grace in most scenarios. However, if you are up against 4-5 VERY squishy champions you can definitely consider running coup. I never run Cut Down as Garen almost always has more hp than his key targets during a game (usually enemy mid laner or ADC).
★ For my secondary runes I like to go run the Sorcery tree and take Nimbus Cloak and Celerity. These runes go very well together because I tend to run Ignite for more kill pressure in lane. When you use Ignite, your Nimbus Cloak will give you more movement speed and you can use this to both kill or run away from your opponent! On top of that Celeritywill boost the movement speed you get from Nimbus Cloak. Celerity also boosts the movement speed bonus from Decisive Strike which is also very nice. Movement speed on Garen is very important as Garen is a champion with 0 dashes. I run this set up pretty much 100% of my games when I am smurfing because this is the most powerful set up in getting solo kills.
★ If I am against a rough match up, or want to run Teleport instead of Ignite (usually better for a competitive 5v5 team environment a.k.a. Tournaments and Clash) I take Resolve secondary with either Bone Plating or Second Wind. Take bone plating against melee champions with short burst trades such as Camille, Shen and Renekton, and take second wind vs champions that can poke you with abilities such as Gangplank, Fiora, and Volibear.

Always go double adaptive damage + Armor or Magic Resist depending on your enemy laner.


VS Most Ranged Tops

This is the build I opt for whenever I find myself against a Marksman top laner such as Quinn, Vayne, Lucian, and Tristana or a squishy ranged mage such as Kennen, Neeko, Syndra, and Teemo. It is extremely difficult for Garen to trade at all with these champions. Fleet Footwork gives you some health back from minions and you can farm without dying. This will get you to level 6 without dying when you want to all in with Flash and Ignite utilizing the movement speed you get from Nimbus Cloak and Celerity. You can choose to go this rune if it looks like the enemy laner is playing a supportive champion such as Lulu, Janna, and Soraka in the top lane as well.
VS Kayle & Jayce

I take these runes when I'm playing vs Jayce, Kayle, and Akali specifically. Against these 3 champions Garen has a very hard time using Judgment after hitting your target with Decisive Strike because Jayce can knock you away, and Kayle easily slows you. Therefore, against these 2 champions it is better to go Grasp of the Undying as you will only look for trades with Q Decisive Strike whenever your Grasp is active. You can apply this to many other off meta top champions you may come across that have a similar playstyle. Champions such as Qiyana, Fizz pretty much melee champions that have a tool to disengage and deny your Judgment from getting full value. You can also use this set up if you are having difficulty playing against tanks as it is easier to trade using Grasp with them. Take Demolish to get those extra tower plates, Bone Plating or Second Wind depending on match up, and then Overgrowth for extra HP since Garen doesn't benefit from Revitalize and I personally think currently the extra HP is better than conditional tenacity from Unflinching. Take Nimbus Cloak and Celerity in the secondary tree for the all in pressure.
Mythic Items

The most optimal Mythic items for Garen currently is Trinity Force and Stridebreaker. I personally think Trinity Force is the best mythic item Garen can build when you are very ahead in lane because the item offers the best 1v1 potential currently for Garen and allows you to split push side lanes for pressure. However, if you want the most consistency I would recommend Stridebreaker instead as the item gives you more durability than Trinity Force while giving you more movement speed overall to catch up to targets and provides an active that can apply an AoE slow effect. There are also match ups where one item is not optimal in the 1v1 scenario and I will explain that for each items below.
Trinity Force is my go-to mythic currently because statistically the item gives Garen the best stats for 1v1'ing the enemy top laner and split pushing. The way I like to play Garen is constantly pressure the enemy through splitting sides and triforce really enables that playstyle. The downside to triforce is that you are left a bit squishier than if you would build Stridebreaker, but the item makes up for it with the additional damage to both champions and towers. I would say unless you are against Jax you will find that building Trinity Force while you have a lead will really allow you to snowball by being able to constantly 1v1 the enemy top laner. The burst through the spellblade passive is really nice as well as it allows for some surprise kills as some people will not expect the amount of damage you can do.
Stridebreaker gives you all the stats Garen wants (AD,HP and AS), and then adds movement speed to all the rest of your legendary items. Stridebreaker really shines against bruisers such as Riven, Irelia, and Jax who have a lot of mobility in their kit. I suggest rushing Berserker's Greaves and a Hearthbound Axe or a Ironspike Whip if you do not have enough gold to buy the item fully for powerspikes. I love going Stormrazor second item as my core. These two items give you the most DPS with the least amount of gold in the early game. The active from Stridebreaker combined with the energized attack of Stormrazor will usually allow you to catch up to and then 1 shot combo most high priority targets. Another item I really enjoy going is Sterak's Gage. Sterak's gage is gerat if you need to withstand more damage during teamfights because it will give you some HP, and a passive that gives you a shield when your HP goes below 30%. This item combined with Gargoyle's stoneplate as your 3rd item gives Garen a LOT of durability in a teamfight.
Legendary Items To Consider

Stormrazor is usually what I build after going for a Stridebreaker. When combined together you are able to 1 shot most non-tanks with the Decisive Strike - Judgment - Demacian Justice - Ignite combo. Stormrazor has proved to be a reasonable second item since Stattik Shiv was removed.

Against a champion with lots of healing built in such as Fiora, Irelia, and Aatrox I would go a Mortal Reminder second instead of Stormrazor. This will give much needed grevious along with a significant DPS increase. I prefer this item to Chempunk Chainsword because it gives you crit, AD, and attackspeed which is significantly better than 200 health and 15 ability haste for Garen.

A must when you are against an armor stacking opponent. The carve effect from Black Cleaver not only allows you to do more damage, but enables your allies as well. You can apply this debuff to multiple targets simultaneously if you manage to get your Judgment onto multiple enemies during a teamfight.

Garen has a lot of innate healing from his passive Perseverance especially when we bring Conqueror as well. This item not only boosts the healing done by those two, but also any heals and shields you receive from your allies! One of the best items for Garen in general but especially when you are against AP.

AD Bruisers will always be popular in Top Lane and DMP is one of the best armor items in the game for Garen. It gives you movement speed and a bit of burst as well with the passive auto attack. Consider building this item when you feel like you need more chase, and you are needing to match AD champions in a side lane.

This is the item you want to go if you know you will be teamfighting often, and you are the main Tank for your team and need extra durability. The main downside of this item is that the only stat you get is HP and passive shielding, so I don't recommend building this until you build at least 1 resistance item.

When I'm being constantly suppressed by a enemy Warwick, Urgot, Malzahar, and Skarner this is the item you should go for. Remember that you can also use this item to cleanse stuns and slows such as Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow, Annie's Summon: Tibbers, and Leona's Solar Flare. You also don't need to finish the entire item and keep it at just a Quicksilver Sash for the cleanse effect until you have 3 or 4 completed items as this item doesn't really give Garen a power spike but rather just better stats on a item that gives your a cleanse effect.

If I am against multiple ADC's I will usually choose to go this item for grievous wounds instead of Mortal Reminder as mortal reminder can only apply the debuff when you apply physical damage. By going thornmail you will be able to apply grievous wounds without needing to damage the opponent, which means you are not required to be in melee range to apply it. You can also choose to go this item (or at least a Bramble Vest) if you are losing lane to a champion that builds a lot of lifesteal or has lots of self sustain in it's kit such as Fiora, Sylas, Sett, and Irelia.

This is the item you want to go when you see more than 2 champions that builds heavy crit such as Tryndamere, Yasuo, Yone, and crit based ADC's. The passive effect is very nice against auto attackers, and the active not only slows but reduces damage done by critical attacks as well.

I enjoy going this item when the enemy comp is all AD, but they're not crit based. This item does a lot of work against assassins' such as Talon, Zed, and Qiyana or even bruisers that rely on combo's such as Riven and Wukong because it reduces the burst done in their combos. On top of that it gives armor, ability haste, and ad which are all very good stats for Garen. Try going this item when the enemy team comp has 4-5 AD based champions.

In general I don't usually build this item because there are better items you can build on Garen. I build this item if I think the next teamfight will decide whether we win or lose the game and I don't have enough gold for a better item, or I feel that having 1 extra life will win me the teamfight.

This item is really good if you are ahead with lots of gold and you are trying to really maximize your DPS in teamfights. The main problem with this item is that it is very expensive to build and that it gives no durability. However, the damage spike combined with the slow effect from it's passive, while you have stridebreaker this pretty much ensures that you will be sticking to any target that cannot dash away from you.

This item is interesting because it has the potential to give you more flat Magic Resist and Movement speed. The main problem with the item is that unless you have been hit by a couple individual magic damage dealing abilities, this item isn't very gold efficient. I would say in most scenarios that you need a MR item opt for a Spirit Visage instead as the item as a whole just gives better stats and passive. I would personally only go this item against 4-5 Magic damage dealing teams in a situation where I need to build at least 2 Magic Resist items.

This item is now very good for Garen because the active does not decrease your damage anymore, and instead of gaining health you gain a shield which means it's not affected by grievous wounds. If you want to go for a teamfight oriented build you can go for something like Stridebreaker, Sterak's Gage, and Gargoyle Stoneplate and you will have a lot of value in item actives + stats in teamfights. Give it a go if it seems like the enemy team wants to ARAM all day and constantly fight for objectives

Essence reaver can be good on Garen if you need access burst damage but you also want to take down turrets very quickly and have more side lane pressure. The main problem with something like Essence reaver over other items is obviously that you will lack tankiness to front line. This is why its only advised to build essence reaver if you plan on primarily split pushing side lanes and pressuring towers. Remember that against certain match ups that you cannot one shot, it will be hard to execute the 1v1's with this item. Split pushing is also not advised when you cannot beat or match the enemy top laner so make sure you consider everything! This item really shines when you build another crit item after Essence reaver, usually going to be a mortal reminder as it will give you some movement speed and more spins through the attack speed.
Everything you need to know about Garen's abilities

Garen does not use mana, health or energy in order to cast spells which means you're only gated by your cooldowns. The only thing about Garen you have to worry about during the game is the whether or not an ability is on cooldown. This makes Garen incredibly beginner friendly. Even though he seems easy there can be lot of depth to how and why you use your skills.
Passive - Garen restores 1.5−10.1% of his maximum health every 5 seconds (depending on level). Perseverance is interrupted for 8 seconds if Garen takes damage from epic monsters, turrets, champions, or if he is hit by an enemy ability.

This is one of Garen's biggest strengths as it makes his lane phase very forgiving. You should use your health as a resource by forcing the enemy laner to back while you regen health freely. It is extremely important to not take damage from the enemy when laning if you are not trying to trade so that you keep your passive active. Be wary of the AoE (area of effect) and DoT (Damage over time) champions as they will constantly turn off your passive. Main examples are Teemo/ Singed poison, Darius bleed, and Heimerdinger turrets.
Q- Garen removes all slows on him and gains 30% bonus movement speed for 1 / 1.65 / 2.3 / 2.95 / 3.6 seconds. His next melee attack within 4.5 seconds will deal 30 / 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 (+0.5 per attack damage) bonus physical damage and silence his target for 1.5 seconds. This attack can critically strike.

This is Garen's only cc but more importantly it grants a movement speed steroid. Always try to think about why you are using Q during lane or while split pushing as wasting it leaves you defenseless. It's almost always better to save Q rather than using it for farming.You should always try to use Decisive Strikebefore using Demacian Justice so that enemies cannot save themselves from the incoming execute damage.

W-Passive: Garen permanently gains 0.25 bonus armor and bonus magic resistance every time he kills an enemy unit, up to a maximum of 30 bonus resistances at 120 unit kills. At max resistances from enemy kills, Garen increases his bonus armor and magic resist by 10%.
Active: Garen reduces incoming damage by 30% for 2 / 2.75 / 3.5 / 4.25 / 5 seconds. Additionally, for the first 0.75 seconds, Garen also gains a 70 / 95 / 120 / 145 / 170 (+0.2 bonus health) shield and 60% Tenacity.

How you use your W is your only form of skill expression. Misusing your W can result in taking unfavorable trades, getting cc'd for too long. Ideally you want to use this spell when you are trading in lane, see a incoming CC ability, or to tank a turret shot. The timing for turret shots can be a little tricky so I suggest practicing it in practice tool until you get the timing down.
E- Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body 7 (+1 per 25% attack speed) times over 3 seconds, ignoring unit collision and dealing 4 / 8 / 12 / 16 / 20 (+0-8.2 depending on level) (+0.32 / 0.34 / 0.36 / 0.38 / 0.4 per attack damage) physical damage per spin to nearby enemies. This damage is increased by 25% on Garen's nearest enemy. Judgment can critically strike for 33% bonus damage. The total damage is increased by 50% against non-epic monsters. Enemy champions hit 6 times have their armor reduced by 25% for 6 seconds (hits after the 6th refresh the duration). Garen can deactivate Judgement early by activating the ability again after 1 second, which reduces the cooldown by the remaining duration of the spin.

This is Garen's signature ability and where the phrase "spin to win" comes from. Garen's E is his main DPS and pushing tool (3 points in E lets you instant clear a wave.) A neat feature of Garen's E is that he will remain spinning even while cc'd. This is why it's so important to predict your enemy and use E while trading when you see incoming cc abilities. Some of the important spells to remember are Shen's Shadow Dash, Sion's Decimating Smash, Darius's Apprehend, and Mordekaiser's Death's Grasp. Whenever you use your E to trade in lane, you're also probably going to damage the minion wave as a result. So just be careful whenever you are using E to make sure your lane is in a good spot. Also, remember that you can cancel early your E to put it into a lower CD. Some reasons you cancel early are: you were trading but the enemy dashed out of range, you cleared all minions. As you get more experience with Garen you will begin to see more situations where you should be cancelling E early.
R- Garen gains vision of his target for 1 second and brings down Demacian Justice on them after a 0.5 second delay, dealing true damage to them equal to 150 / 300 / 450 plus 20 / 25 / 30% of the target's missing health.

This is Garen's most powerful tool, and the reason why he has so much kill pressure once he hits level 6. This ability means any champion around 30% hp within melee range is at risk of execution. The range of Demacian Justice is just about the range of Flash so even if the enemy tries to flash away as long as you've pressed R and the animation is going through it will execute. Don't just use your R because someone is in the kill range, be sure you are targeting the most important enemies. Also keep in mind to not use R when the enemy is under a revive effect such as Chronoshift and Guardian Angel and always keep track of shield passive items/ skills. There's currently no execution indicator for Garen so you have to play games until you can predict the execute range.
Champions to ban as Garen
1. Camille

Camille is frustrating to go against because of her ability to always win short trades through utilization of Grasp of the Undying + Adaptive Defenses . Her kit also outscale's Garen later it gets into the game after 2 - 3 items making it even harder for Garen to deal with. Combined with this, and the fact that she is a very frequently picked meta champion, I have currently chosen Camille as my number 1 ban champion in solo queue as it's the champion I see most often and have the most problem with.

2. Yorick

Yorick has seen a rise in play rate with recent buffs to Trinity Force and quality of life changes to his kit that made him a lot stronger than before. His kit is every hard for Garen to deal with as once he hits level 6 and get's access to his maiden, its almost impossible to match him in the side lane. If you are below Platinum I would highly suggest banning Yorick instead of Camille as the champion can feast on a disorganized play environment like solo queue and end the game from your outer turret in 2 minutes.

3. Vayne

If all the champions above are banned I suggest banning Vayne as she is by far the hardest champion in the game for Garen to deal with. Access to true damage, insane mobility with Tumble, and access to invisibility makes a good positioning Vayne impossible to 1v1. The reason I do not ban her over other champions usually is due to her playrate but if you don't have an idea what to ban and the champions listed above are banned you can feel free to do so.
Ending remarks
Thank you so much for reading my guide! If you liked it please consider upvoting the guide, every upvotes help me become a better content creator! Also if you have any questions feel free to comment below or ask my during my stream and I will do my best to answer them!
League of Legends Build Guide Author jpaul2077
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