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Build Guide by Psiloscribe

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Psiloscribe

pleasure GARENteed

Psiloscribe Last updated on September 21, 2010
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Top Lane
Ranked #2 in
Top Lane
Win 55%
Get More Stats

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: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 9

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 0

I hope you like playing Garen, cause he is one serious BOSS and by far my favorite champ. Played intelligently, he has the potential to very quickly cause havoc for the enemy ranks. I'm putting this guide together to share my knowledge and expertise in the field of kicking *** and grinding nubs beneath my Demacian bootheel. Hope you enjoy!

Pros (according to this build):
-Easily one the of the best early killers in the game
-Controls the battlefield
-In-lane HoT
-Fast attacks complimented by snare and HEAVY crit
-Excellent finisher
-Mobile AoE
-Able to break any snares
-Engages enemies quickly
-All abilities are CD based, no mana management
-Great farmer
-Great pusher
-Great escape (with Judgement and Ghost)

-Easy to harrass by ranged (I hate Ashe early game)
-Limited CC (exhaust is a must)
-Melee damage (lifesteal tanks, especially late game, are a ***** 1v1)
-Without cleanse, you have to be very careful of multiple cc
-Low armor build (this is not a tank build)

Summoner Spells:


In my opinion, this spell is necessary. Except for the Frozen Mallet snare, Garen has no cc ability, which obviously can be devestating in 1v1. Used properly, this spell, combined with Judgement, will gaurantee a gank and first blood in the early game. It's great for catching players in the brush and snaring runners. In 1v1 fights, the dmg reduction can mean the difference between life and death. TAKE THIS SPELL


Perfect escape tool. Also very good for catching runners. Sometimes I'll use this to close distance quickly in order to save my silence. Wicked long duration too, mastery point not even needed.

-Also useful:


I used this spell for a long time in place of ghost. It works well as a supplement early on when trying to gank at low lvl and to take out players as they return to the tower. At higher lvls tho, it's usefulness drops considerably.


A lot of players may find this spell useful. Its especially good against Morgana and Ryze's trap snares. Mostly, tho, I don't find much use for this since it's nerf. Judgement removes snares as well, and is on a relatively short cooldown. With ghost, I've never had a very difficult time escaping or engaging enemies.



(Innate): Garen will regenerate 0.5% of his maximum health per second after not receiving damage for 7 seconds.

This ability, combined with health potions, keeps you in the lane much longer than other champs. You shouldn't need to head back to base until you have enough money for your boots and brutalizer.

Decisive Strike

(Active): Garen gains a 15/20/25/30/35% speed boost for 2 seconds. His next attack deals 40/60/80/100/120 bonus damage and silences his target for 2.5 seconds.
Cooldown - 11/10/9/8/7 seconds

This ability is a trifecta of awesome. First off, it's a simple damage bonus, not anything spectacular but it's usually enough to finish off that last bar or so. Secondly, its a movement speed increase, and a nice one at that. Thirdly, the silence can be used primarily to anticipate a stun, snare, etc.
Typically, I use this ability to quickly close distance on an enemy and prevent him from knocking me back or stunning me. The movement increase, combined with proper timing, can put you on his front step before he sees you coming. DS + Judge + Exhaust, and the enemy will be on his knees waiting for your Justice to finish him. Also, the cooldown is low enough that after Judgment, it's just about ready to be used again.
I also use this whenever I'm leaving the base or getting from point A to B. Great in the early game for changing lanes and ganking.
Don't forget to use it against turrets. Early game, while the enemy is hugging their turret, I use it to rush in for a free power hit then rush back out.


(Passive): Garen's armor and magic resistance are permanently increased by 0.5 every time he kills an enemy unit. This bonus is maxed at 7/14/21/28/35.
(Active): Garen places a defensive shield on himself for the next 2/2.5/3/3.5/4 seconds, decreasing all damage taken by 35%.
Cooldown - 30/27/24/21/18 seconds

This ability's passive is almost a throwaway, especially since we dont level this ability till the last 5 levels. However, at lvl 18, 35 MR is a nice free bonus.
The active feature of this skill, however, is where the money's at. 35% damage reduction is fantastic. Great for solo-finishing a tower, eating up a powerful nuke or aoe ult, defending on retreat, or dampening a DoT.
Because of it's fairly long cooldown and short duration, especially at early levels, if you're going to use it at the outset of a fight, wait til ur already in a spin, since it's usable mid-judgment.


(Active): Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, removing all existing applied slows, reducing the duration of new slows by 50% and dealing 35% of Attack Damage to nearby enemies every 0.5 seconds. The bonus damage is further increased by Garen's critical strike chance. Damage to minions is reduced by 50%.
Cooldown - 15/14/13/12/11 seconds

This ability is Garen's bread and butter. It's the first skill you want to max out, and the one you will use most often. If you position Garen between the front and back rows of minions, this ability will effect the entire group. This makes pushing easy from the get-go. Also, being able to move while spinning is a great way of harrassing enemy champs while also damaging minions.
The aoe damage, utility, snare reduction, and low cooldown of this ability is FREAKING AWESOME. Catch a champ in a full Judgment and you will see his health drop like a stone. This makes first kill ganks easy as all hell, especially with exhaust.
You can stop the spin at any time by pressing E again, which can be useful if the enemy manages to break away and you need to chase him down with decisive strike or ghost.
Late game, this ability will decimate groups of minions in one swoop and be off cooldown by the next wave, making lane pushing CAKE.

Demacian Justice

(Active): Garen brings down Demacian Justice on his opponent, dealing 175/350/525 magic damage plus 1 damage for every 3.5/3/2.5 health they are missing.
Cooldown - 140/120/100 seconds

Best ... finisher ... ever
Once you hit lvl 6 and get access to this badass ability, you will be able to start racking up the kills like none other. This ability is on a longer cooldown than the rest of Garens skills, so more than likely you will not be able to use it in every fight. It's usable about once every other fight.
Obviously you don't want to use this ability until the enemy is getting below ~40% hp, or else you waste the damage potential. Early game, after getting this skill, I usually take the opportunity to gank a few of the other lanes since its so powerful and catches a lot of enemies off gaurd.

Item Summary:

My item build is dynamic and I switch between recipes throughout in order to remain balanced at all stages of the match.

The highest strengths of this item build are:
-Balanced progression
-Easy gold management (no need to save up massive amounts before making a purchase)
-High Crit
-High AS
-Early Snare
-Early Armor Pen

Greatest Weaknesses:
-Low Armor
-Midrange Health (less than some "tough" champs but more than some other dps Garen builds)
-Midrange Damage (this build is crit based and not built on base damage)

I break the gear progression up into 3 major phases.

The primary phase consists mostly of the original laning stage and early ganking. If played well, these items can be gathered very quickly. I also break this primary phase up into 3 ideal base returns.
1st) Purchase Boots and Brutalizer (=1987 gold)
2nd) Purchase Zeal and Phage (=2510 gold)
3rd) Purchase Phantom Blade (=2200 gold)

All purchases should be made in their corresponding order, and if you cannot afford a full item take its most powerful constiuent part (HP>DMG>CRIT)
By the end of this phase, you will have the Brutalizer, Phage, and Phantom. With these items you will notice an immediate improvement in damage, attack speed, crit, and AP. In the matter of 8-10 levels you will be able to tear through full groups of minions with a single Judgment and easily start hunting enemy champs.

The Secondary Phase consists of the mid game team fights, lane pushing, and upper-level ganking. There are only two purchases included in this phase.
1st) Frozen Mallet (1935 gold)
You should be able to purchase this upgrade very quickly after getting your first phantom blade. The snare is necessary, especially this late into the game, for keeping enemy champs caught in your full Judgment. Also, the HP increase is a noticable benefit.
2nd) B.F. Sword (1850 gold)
The damage increase is a good counter to rising enemy hp and armor levels this late into the game. Also, I chose this item because it's the most expensive of the Infinity Edge recipe and makes it easier to purchase the infinity in the next phase. Usually by the time I get this, we are taking out their base turrets and team fights are getting very heated. I've finished many games without purchasing any other items after this phase.

The Tertiary Phase consists of the heavy hitting late game team fights. Typically, this late into the match, because of your melee damage, any enemy tanks are going to be very difficult to solo. Most fights are going to be team based anyways, and with the items you've built, you're going to be dishing it out like WHOA! You have 4 item purchases to make before filling out the set.
1) Zeal (1195 gold)
2) Infinity Edge (2230 gold)
3) Phantom Blade (2200 gold)
4) Youmuu's Ghostblade (1350 gold)

Once again, be sure to purchase the items in this order. Picking up the Zeal will be an added movement speed increase and crit chance, and a cheap purchase toward your second Phantom Blade. Infinity edge puts you over 100% crit chance and gives you that bonus 50% dmg. With the second phantom blade, your regular attacks will all be hitting for over 600 dmg. If you get this far, I chose to upgrade the Brutalizer to Youmuu's because it's a small increase in AP and with 6 full slots, there's nothing left to purchase. I know that a lot of ppl like to grab the Youmuu's early for the active movement and attack speed increase, but I feel like more important items are available in the Primary Phase purchases, and the sacrifice of 5 AP is well worth the 1350 gold at an early stage of the match.

Match Guide:

Time is of the essence. You have to beat the enemy champs to the brush in order to get the opening shot. As quickly as possible, purchase the Boots of Speed and 3 Health potions and book it to the opposition's brush. Make sure you have a lane partner that's on the same page as you, so that you both are ready when the enemy comes stumbling into your ambush. Trap them in your judgment and use exhaust to prevent a tower run. Except for the occasional blinker or heavy tank, no one escapes death. If the enemy does not enter the brush, I wait til they push minions past mid then gank with my lane partner. Look out for champs like Urgot, Ashe, and Ezreal who have ranged abilities that dont require a target, they will use these abilities to reveal your location, placing you at a disadvantage.

Early Game
Because of your passive regeneration, you have a distinct advantage over others because you dont have to port back to base. Use your health potions to their full advantage and dont be afraid to stay agressive with the enemy. You can easily harrass with judgment and by focusing targets with your lane partner you can start racking up kills early. Using the movement speed increase from your Decisive Strike and Ghost, you can move between lanes quickly early on, especially after getting your boots of swiftness, and gank unsuspecting champs for some quick gold. Remember to stay patient, and that it's better to let that 1 bar of life go runnin than to feed the turret.

Mid Game
Once the first couple of towers have fallen, and people start to become more mobile, you need to be on your toes. I find Garen to be excellent at hopping lanes the entire game. Push to a tower, deal some blows, run before the enemy shows up, do the same in the next lane, and keep an eye out for any enemies. Stay mobile and take out any champs that cross your path. This is obviously the part of the game that relies heavily on personal skill, and you need to be making kills in order to build up the item progression fast. Stay coordinated and stay aggressive.

End Game
Since endgame primarily consists of team battles, you have to be very careful, since your armor and HP are not outstanding. Pick your targets carefully. I find that with Demacian Justice, I get a kill in the first couple seconds of any largescale fight. Dont forget to use Courage when you are focused upon, and keep an eye on pushing lanes. Garen is fast and with Judgment can quickly push enemy lines back. Your late game items make you a damage-dealing powerhouse and it's a blast rocking squishies before they can get out of range of your judgment.

In Conclusion

Garen is a ton of fun to play, and with this build you will find speed, balance, damage, and efficiency. As always, the guide can only do so much, and it really comes down to personal skill, practice, confidence, and most importantly an intelligent and cooperative team. I've had a blast with this champion and hope you do too!

This is my first guide, and I hope it's been useful. Please leave any comments, and make sure to grade me.

-Psiloscribe o0