Garen Build Guide by Alekra
Season 11 Toplane Garen Guide [Basics included]By Alekra | Updated on March 19, 2021
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Runes: General Runes
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Ability Order Order in most Games
Threats & Synergies
Basically, he is you but better. You will lose long trades every single time. Pray for a mistake and get your jungle to help. Banning him is my go-to strat.
Second Wind is mandatory. Maybe double armor in runes. You almost have zero killpressure due to his barrels and oranges. Garen is not that bad into him as some may think, as his sustain is pretty good but don't underestimate his damage with ult and passive.
Nasus is very weak in earlygame. You win trades early easily, but dont underestimate his lv 6. Use your Q to counter his W. Freeze your lane to deny him farm. Build antiheal (Thornmail, Chempunk Chainsword) if Nasus becomes a threat to weaken him in skirmishes. You should win teamfights against him as your ult executes him no matter how tanky he is.
He is very beatable. Since you max E anyways, his w is not very effective. If you manage to time it correctly that is. Build Black Cleaver first to counter his early tankiness. Take Demolish for free towers when he ults away.
Can be tricky, if not unbeatable if he gets fed. You might want to take Perfect Timing and Bisquit Delivery. You can go Ruby Cristal + potions for starting itmes + E at lv 1 to counter his all in. Only trade when he is low on rage. Plated Steelcaps are pretty mandatory.
Difficulty ranges from even to extreme depending on the skill difference. Bramble Vest early helps alot and so does Bone Plating. Ignite also helps but only take it if you are confident that you can beat her. Charge at her with Q but do not strike her to bait her into using Riposte. Do not max Q since if she is able to riposte it will leave you with a loosing trade.
Very difficult lane. She can outtrade you very easily with her passive shield. You can try to get hit by 1 autoattack, wait until her passive is down and then trade with her. Although you should play more defensively as she only has killpressure on you if you are low.
Can be tricky. Kill her tantacles when she has to lasthit minions to negate alot of damage. If she misses her E, you can trade with her and win. Use your Q to dodge her tentacles and do not fight her in her ult. I repeat, do not fight her in her ult. Just go away and reengage after it is over. Buy Bramble Vest to deny alot of her healing.
Can go either way but if you time your trades correctly, it is Garen favoured i would say. Use your Q movementspeed to dodge his Q and avoid trading with him when he has his E up. Without his ult he doesn't really have killpressure and he has no mobility so you can stack your E for free.
Depends heavily on you being able to move unpredictable. If you can dodge his Q you will win trades. Take Bramble Vest early to counter his healing. Ignite may also help.
Very difficult lane after lvl 6 but you can trade before that. Go full sustain with runes and early Spectre's Cowl. You can win if she makes the mistake of going melee. But she will always beat you after lv 6 if she knows what she is doing.
Not very difficult matchup despite being ranged. You out sustain alot of his damage so he wont be able to straight up kill you. If he engages into melee you might even be able to snatch a kill on him if you W his stun.
Very, very annoying to play against although not unbeatable. Play defensively to avoid getting hit by her Qs. She wins long trades so you might want to max Q first to win short ones. Maxing E like normal also works as your E can hit her while she is in her shroud while your Q can't.
Annoying, but generally not really able to kill you. You can kill him if he ever makes the mistake of using his E aggressively. As with many ranged matchups your passive helps alot to sustain in lane. In his Mega-Gnar form he is way less of a threat as he looses his range.
You have to play around his passive on this one, as you will loose trades if he gets Skaarl back. If you want to kill him you have to keep the HP of skaarl very low so you can kill her very fast when going all-in and still have abilities to kill Kled with before he gets back Skaarl. It's best to only trade against Kled, when he just used his W attacks as he loses alot of damage without it.
Not very scary although i do not know the matchup with the new items. Take E lvl 1 to counter a possible lv 1 engage with his E. You win if you are able to play around his E with your Q.
He does not really have any killpressure on you. Your sustain is great so you can eat alot of his cleavers without being at risk of dying. You can win trades against him and Bramble Vest will help alot after lv 6. Only fight him with his ult up if you are ahead or have antiheal.
Can go both ways. You can fight her pre lv 6 but after that be very careful. Dodging her E is crucial as it not only prevents the stun, but also a Q reset. You can bait her W with your Q. You can max Q here for short trades as her passive will win her most long trades.
Easy matchup. He does not do alot of damage early so you don't have to worry about dying. Specter's Cowl shuts him down completely in lane. You can bait his pool with your Q and just wait for your cooldown as yours is way lower than his. Against a good vlad you probably won't be able to kill him, but he shouldn't be able to kill you either.
Very difficult to trade and kill for Garen. Pre-damage his shield before going in so you can break it easily to win your trades. You can bait out Qs early so he runs out of mana fast and then you can trade. But at full Health and Mana he will win an all-in with his W and E. Black Cleaver as your first item is very good.
Really hard lane to beat. His passive and W makes it almost impossible for you to win long trades. You can win trades if you engage with his W-bar low or E down and keep it short. He is really easy to gank so you might want to get help from your jng.
He does not have any kill pressure but you do because of your ult. Keep away from bushes and W his CC. Black Cleaver first is good here.
It is best to not trade against him. A trades outcome is very dependent on you dodging his E as he looses alot of dmg. You can break his cage faster with your Q AA reset but you will loose most long trades. He will not be able to kill you if you don't overextend.
Not the biggest problem. You have better sustain so you can trade with him. Black Cleaver helps for long trades and you should take Second Wind to counter his passive poke.
Orrn can be pretty difficult to beat. He is really tanky and has alot of damage. But it gets alot easier if you can avoid his mark and dodge his E. Your Q movement speed helps alot there. He has one of the best gank setups so don't overextend in lane and you won't die. Just like with all tanks, go Black Cleaver first.
To win trades you have to play around his Clone. If you can hit your combo on the real monke you will most likely win. Do not trade for too long as his passive really helps him there.
Renekton is not the most difficult matchup, but do not underestimate his damage. Thanks to Garens natural tankyness renektion does to have the tools to straight up kill him, but you will loose early trades if his Ragebar is high. Hitting your W to counter his W can turn around a trade completely so try to time it correctly.
Really annoying, She is really tanky and has alot of dmg. You will most likely not be able to kill her often but neither will she if you play around her E and run out of her second Q.
Riven can outtrade you very easily. She can E your Q and alot of the time she dashes away before you can trade her back. Try to Q her while she uses her 3rd Q on you so she can't follow up immediately with her W. W her stun. Be really careful after lv 6 as many people underestimate her burst and animation cancelling.
Teemo is actually not that hard to beat. Go full sustain with runes and early Specter's Cowl so he wont be able to kill you. You can E his wave to bait him into coming closer to harass you and then press Q to get onto him really easily. You can bait his W with your Q so you have an advantage over him in the next trade. Play defensively so you can utilize your passive to counter his poke.
I don't fucking know this champion is a potato. Don't chase singed. And don't play too agressively. He only has kill pressure on you if you play greedy and don't respect him.
W his stun or even better, use your Q to cancel it and you should be able to beat him. Max E and build Black Cleaver first if he goes tank, Stridebreaker first if he goes full AD.
Urgot seems very scary, but is a bit weaker than you would expect i think. If he does not hit his E, you can outtrade and maybe straight up kill him. He is not that tanky early so you can defenitely win lane. But i cannot stress enough how important it is to dodge his E. Trade with him when his leg passives are down as hitting multiple passives is his only burst.
Since Garen has such low mobilty, this matchup is actually pretty hard as you will have difficulties dodging his W. Keep the trades short so he can't really pop it. You want him to be the agressor and not you so he has to use his E to trade with you. That way he will not be able to use it to keep you in his W center.
Really hard to beat, not that hard to survive if you are ready to loose some farm. You basically have 0 killpressure as her E counters your Q completely. Go full sustain with runes with either Second Wind and Overgrowth or Perfect Timing and Bisquit Delivery.
Your worst matchup. You play full defensively, full sustain and try to get your jng to help you. Vayne's only weakness in Lane is her being a good target for ganks if she pushes into you which she most likely will. Winning the lane comes down to how many positional mistakes Vayne makes as she will still loose in melee. But a Vayne that know's what shes doing will always beat you.
Pretty easy to beat. Your kit is just way better against him than his against you. Prock his passive shield with an autoattack before engaging and there should be no way that he wins the trade. Your Q silence prevent him from dashing so you can stack your E for free.
Haven't played again him yet, but looking at the kit and him being an assassin, he should be an easy matchup. Dont underestimate his healing, but I think you win most trades as he should be weaker at all levels.
His lifesteal can be a bit annoying - nothing an early Bramble Vest can't fix. He is an all damage, no tankyness kinda champion so since you can shut him down with your silence, he will usually pop very quickly. Overall he can't do anything against your all-in. W his stun and he will lose every trade.
Can go both ways. Most of the time, the player that follows my guide better, has the edge.
Doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's not good for you. He has much more sustain in long fights than you do and he can use your own ult against you. Play defensively and keep your trades short.
Champion Build Guide
I am happy that you decided to have a look at my boi Garen and even happier that you decided you look at my guide. This is my first guide ever so sadly i haven't figured out how to make my guide to actually look nice like all the other Guides (cries in demacia). I hope this doesn't hurt your eyes too much.
Admittedly, I am not a Rank 1 Garen OTP but I managed to get into Platinum this season in just over 200 Games with playing mostly Garen (132 Games, 55% Winrate, 2.75 KDA, 6.3 CS/min).
I currently have 380k exp on Garen so I feel like I have enough experience to help other with their games.
Well then i guess there is not really that much to add. I hope this helps you, good luck in the rift and Demacia is with you!
His skills are very straight forward and easy to learn which makes it very easy to pick him up. So if you want to beat other, more complex champions with [[Garen}}, you will have to improve your macromanagement. Since both players know exactly what Garen can do, it comes down to you being the better player.
The key to successfully playing Garen is knowing your Macthup, your limits, wave manipulation and knowing how and when to splitpush or join your team. Learning these skills not only make you a better Garen, but a better player overall and I am convinced that I learned and improved alot just by not having to concentrate on learning 300 different mechanics for my champion.
Since he gets alot of free stats, if you are able to get ahead early, you will have no problem fighting 2 champions at once, making you a real threat in skirmishes and when splitpushing. Garen can turn into a unkillable monster thanks to a tanky itemization and Conqueror.
1. He is easy to pick up and to learn.
2. He teaches you the fundementals of the game.
3. He does pretty well against unfavoured matchup as his natural tankyness helps you stay alive.
4. He excells in midgame skirmishes as he has alot of damage and is difficult to take down without alot of CC.
5. When getting ahead and snowballing, Garen defenitely has some 1v9 potential.
6. You will be a big threat to squishy targets as you can oneshot most of them.
7. Garen is good at splitpushing.
1. Since Garen is so easy to play, he is also easy to play around so Garen has plenty of unfavoured/bad matchups that require the player to know his limits.
2. He is very immobile and thus very vulnerable to ganks.
3. He is one of the most kiteable champions in the game.
4. Aside from being a meatshield, and being able to shut down someone with your ultimate, you aren't that useful in lategame teamfights.
5. He does not do too well against heavy CC comps.
Well i believe that there is simply no rune for Garen that is better than Conqueror. So your first Runepath will almost always be Precision. Your E synergizes way too well with Conqueror and the healing will give you additional sustain to your already big fat stats.
Always take Triumph second as it is very good for Garen and there are simply no good alternatives.
Legend: Tenacity is the best Rune in the 3rd Row most of the time. Since I do believe AS/Crit Garen got weaker with the new items, Legend: Alacrity isn't really an option anymore and more tenacity just helps so much with staying alive and getting your damage onto your enemy reliably.
Here, Coup de Grace and Last Stand are both viable options, although I prefer Last Stand as your health is more reliable than the enemy's health if that makes any sense.
You can go Predator, if you want to roam alot. Although this is only really viable in midlane, and since i don't play midlane, this is not the guide for this version ^^
Should you decide on playing it i would recommend Predator; Taste of Blood; Ghost Poro and Relentless Hunter.
The vast majority of the games, Resolve will be your best choice for your second path. Some people may choose Sorcery with Transcendence and Gathering Storm, although a more defensive option makes you more reliable i believe.
In the first row, I choose Demolish when I feel like I can safely splitpush and when there is no single enemy that can prevent me from doing that.
I also choose it when think that I can defenitely win my lane as it becomes really valueable for getting early tower plates while the enemy has to either recall or respawn. The other runes in this row are useless on Garen.
I the second row I take either Second Wind against tanks/ranged and poke like Malphite, Vladimir and Teemo, or Bone Plating against all-in champions like Renekton, Camille and Irelia.
last but not least: In the third row only Overgrowth is really viable. I do believe Legend: Tenacity and your W give you enough Tenacity so you don't have to take Unflinching. I generally take this rune in combination with Second Wind or Bone Plating when i feel like I will need the additional health to survive. Especially when the enemy has alot of flat damage and no %-health-damage, 200-300 extra HP in the lategame can really make a difference.
Mix these up depending on your matchup and Im sure you'll be fine.
You want to take this against really really bad matchups where you really need to play defensively to not die and will loose alot of health when farming.
Perfect Timing + Biscuit Delivery should give you the ability to survive against Champions like Vayne.
I recommend either double Adaptive Force against good matchups with no big risk of dying plus either armor or magic resist, or one adaptive force and double resistances against bad matchups. If you're comfortable enough on Garen you can still go Second Wind and Overgrowth.
Garens passive: Perseverance
After 8 seconds without taking damage from champions, turrets or epic monsters, Garen starts to passively regenerate Health. This seems small and uninpactful at first, but it is one the core features that make Garen who he is. He has so much sustain, that he can stay in lane even after a bad trade that would force others to recall and miss CS/XP. It can even lead to you winning an equal trade just because you regenerate way faster than your opponent does.
This allows Garen to play a bit more agressive and turns his HP into a much more expendabe ressource against heavy poke. Meaning it is okay to loose a bit of health for minions. The best Garen players can use this passive to to fall behind too much in bad matchups without getting punished for it.
Garen's Q: Decisive Strike
Using Q causes Garen to gain a short burst of movementspeed and more damage and a silence on his next autoattack. This ability not only is a great tool for lasthitting minons (and is therefore almost always taken at lvl 1). but it is also the most important tool for Garen to get closer to his enemies, to dodge skillshots, to oneshot enemy squishies in the mid- to lategame or to just run away.
Many trades will start with you running up to someone with your Q and following it up with another autoattack and/or your E.
If possible, you should attack first, and then immediately follow it up with a Q as it is a reset for your autoattacks.
Again: Do not just Q someone and then run away. There is almost always room for an additional attack either before or after you use your Q.
The silence will prevent your enemy from casting his spells and with that his ability to trade back effectively as you can just run away.
Generally, you do not want to max your Q first, when you are against champions that have shields or other options to deal with short burst such as Maplphite, Riven or Camille as their shield will negate your Q, and with that most of your damage.
Only max your Q when you want to go for short trades and feel like you can reliably get your Q through.
Garen's W: Courage
Your W consists of two parts. Lets start with the passive part. When killing enemies, Garen permanently gains Armor and Magic Resist. This goes up to 30 and then increased your resistances by an additional 10%.
This is great. This passive is what allows Garen to build items like Trinity Force and Black Cleaver early, and still be tanky enough to survive burst champions like Renekton. With your passive, Garen has alot of tools to stay healthy in lane and win trades just because he gets alot of free stats.
The W's active however, is the ability that requires the most skill to use correctly. When activated, your W immediately gives you a small shield (10% HP) and tenacity for 0.75s and will reduce incoming damage by 30% for an additional 2-5 seconds.
This abilty, if timed correctly, is the ability to win you trades. A Renekton will loose the trade if you activate your W just before he stuns you with his W. A Shen will loose the trade if you W his E.
Basically: If the enemy has a stun or other form of cc, always use it shortly before their cc hits, if not, then activate it just as they are about to hit you with their main damage combo.
In poke matchups you want to use W pretty frequently to negate extra damage while lasthitting a minion so you don't get punished to much.
Garen's E: Judgment
When activated, Garen starts spinning his sword dealing damage to all enemies around him and he can move through units for the duration. The number of spins is increased by 1 for every 25% bonus attack speed from items and growth (per level). So this is a reason why items like Trinity Force and Berserker's Greaves are so good on Garen.
Enemy champions hit 6 times have their Armor reduced by 25% for 6 seconds. The 7th hit and every 6th hit thereafter refreshes the duration of the reduction.
This ability is not only really good for killing waves, but it is also your main damage tool. Keep in mind that you deal 25% more damage to the nearest enemy when spinning so you'll want to stick close to the enemy champion.
You can recast this ability one second after it's activation to stop spinning. You can do this you reduce it's cooldown by it's remainging duration. Keep in mind to not use it too often if you want to freeze a lane or play defensively in general, as killing the whole wave will lead to your wave pushing into his side of the lane and leaving you vulnerbale to ganks by the enemy mid or jng.
This ability synergizes phenominally with the Conqueror Rune as it lets you stack it up with this ability alone. Paired with the passivea of Black Cleaver, your E is bound to hit like a demacian truck.
Note that the best way to use this ability, is right when you are about to get stunned as you keep on spinning, even if CC'd so you do not loose damage. You can also activate your Q while spinning to get movementspeed so you can stick better to your opponent and to get your Q damage onto your enemy faster.
There will be two main ways you'll start a trade. Either you run up with your Q and then E to prevent your opponent from reacting to it, or you will start with your E to shred his armor first to then deal more damage with your Q. It all depends on how easy it is for you to get close to your opponent. If it is a champion like Maokai, you wont have much trouble getting closer so you won't have to use your Q.
Garen's Ultimate Ability: Demacian Justice
After a short delay (less than half a second). Garen summons a giant divine sword from the heavens to smite down his foe. This does alot of true damage to a single enemy champion, scaling only with the missing health of the enemy.
To roughly calculate when to ult: The target will die if they're at least under 16.67 / 20 / 23.08% maximum health + 125 / 240 / 346.15 flat health on top of that.
This is a great finisher for Garen. Often times people underestimate the power of this ability and are too slow to react to a flash + Q + R combo.
The great thing about this ability is, is does not scale with your stats which makes it a reliable tool to kill an enemy even if you are 0/10. As long as the opponent is low enough, you will kill him with this ability. Since it is true damage, tankiness does not matter.
Apart from using this to execute your oppoents in lane, use your R to shut down important targets in skirmishes or teamfights. If the enemy has one really fed carry, all your team needs to do is getting him low enough for you to ult him. Your silence on your Q should help with that as the enemy cannot protect himself with abilities or items to prevent your ult damage.
Note that Tryndamere can ult even when silenced!
Sometimes when fights get really really close and all your normal spells are on cooldown, it is okay to ult your enemy without executing him for a small burst of healing (provided your Conqueror is fully stacked) and getting an extra Sheen prock.
In the vast majority of your games, Doran's Shield and a Health Potion are your starting items. If you are playing against an all-in AD character like Renekton and a full-ad comp you can also go Cloth Armor and 4 x Health Potion.
Early Core Items:
Since Trinity Force's passive does not scale with your E, Stridebreaker will most often be your Mythic to go. I believe it has overtaken TF in value as movementspeed does really benefit Garen, and the active is exceptionally good for catching squishies. Most often either this or Black Cleaver will be your first completed item.
Black Cleaver is also really really good on Garen as it counters Tanks and your E can stack it up in no-time making your trades that much more efficient.
If you have difficulties surviving in lane, don't be afraid to buy components like Spectre's Cowl or Bramble Vest or even boots first to make your life easier.
After those two items, you will have enough damage to kill most opponnnets and to oneshot ADCs and Mages so I advise you to go for tank items next. Overall about 2-3 of your items should be pure tank. This depends on how much damage or tankyness your team already has.
Other possible Mythics:
Trinity Force is not a bad item on Garen. Especially when you plan to splitpush alot this can still be the most valueable one. For alot of figthing i'd still recommend Stridebreaker or Sunfire Aegis.
Divine Sunderer is very similar to Trinity Force, but you want to take it when there are many tanks in the enemy team where Trinity Force's flat damage won't do much.
Sunfire Aegis does by itself not synergize that well with Garen, but since it seems to be pretty overtuned right now, it can still be a good option when you have diffulties surviving in fights.
If ahead and against alot of squishy targets, Berserker's Greaves are by far the best boots for you. If you have difficulties in lane or you are up against alot of AD/AP you want to consider buying more defensive boots. Against a lot of CC, Maokai + Zac + Leona for example, Mercury's are mandatory.
Tank Items - Armor:
Dead Man's Plate synergizes very well with Garen as the movementsspeed helps you get around the Map and the Slow helps you to stick to your target with your E.
Randuin's Omen is especially good against enemies with alot of attacks ( Tryndamere + Yasuo + Draven for example) but it is a good item for Garen in general.
Thornmail is a bit suboptimal since you can't immobilize someone but if the less defensive Chempunk Chainsword isn't an option as you need more tankyness, it is just too good against heals to not buy it. Antiheal is a must buy against champions like Aatrox or Olaf.
Tank Items - Magic Resistance:
You have 2 tanky options here.
Spirit Visage, which synergizes well with your passsive and your Conqueror Rune.
Force of Nature is great against many enemies that have alot of damage over time abilities such as Teemo, Brand or Lillia.
Buy Sterak's Gage when up against alot of mixed damage and when the enemy has no problems bursting you down.
Wit's End against alot of non-burst AP. If there is alot of damage on the enemy team, a tanky MR item might just be more valueable.
Chempunk Chainsword basically does the same thing as thornmail and does synergize better with you, but leaves you a bit more vulnerable. Will help alot against champions like Aatrox or Nasus. Picking it up instead of Thornmail depends on how much damage the enemy has.
Silvermere Dawn is very good against heavy AP/CC comps.
Gargoyle Stoneplate is pretty good against mixed damage and alot of fighting.
It is always preferable to have the wave on your side of the lane as it becomes easier for your jungler to gank you and less likely for you to die. Pay attention to your opponent using any important abilities to farm and engage when they are down.
When winning the lane Garen can easily grab some turret plating as he is very good at shoving the wave and damaging the tower with his autoattack reset on the Q.
So all in all: Don't be too agressive and play for safe trades to eventually kill your opponent lv 6 with your Ult.
At around 16 minutes you can also solo the herald for you to use it for tearing down towers while the enemies either ignore you or can't do anything without giving up objectives against it as you are pretty strong after you complete your first 2 items.
Once you have a few items, you become really hard to kill while dealing alot of damage to squishies like the enemy ADC or midlane mage. Always look out for the strongest enemy and try to execute him with your ult. In the midgame this is the most fed enemy, is the lategame the enemy ADC or some hyperscaling champion like Kassadin or Vayne can become more important to kill.
This works best with allies that do have CC like Vi or basically anyone that can disrupt the enemy carry so you can shut him down. Your full combo + Ignite will always be a big threat for enemies, even when they are ahead.
When you find yourself not being able to push for the tier 2 tower and no fight is heppening, you can spend your time by stealing enemy or allied jungle camps so you don't waste your time doing nothing.
In the lategame Garen can easily take 2 towers with one push so you want to get into a situation where you can safely do just that. Either you join your team in a fight for an objective and use the enemy deathtimers to destroy towers, or you abuse the enemy by threatening an inhib for example, while your team is dancing around Baron. Either their team looses an inhib to maybe win a fight, or they loose Baron while attempting to kill you. It is really important to look at your map and use the information you are given. If you don't do that you can be collapsed on and the enemy has a free teamfight. So don't get caught with your demacian pants down!
When your Team has slain Baron, if ahead and provided some enemies are still alive, you'll want to solopush a lane as you are pretty strong on your own and you aim to pressure the enemy on multiple fronts so they cannot really defend efficiently. If you're still not sure that your teammates can win a fight after Baron, or you have just secured an ace then you should obviously join them and fight/ destroy their base.
Once you figure out when to be at the right place at the right time you are sure to climb.