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Garen Build Guide by Alekra

Top Season 11 Toplane Garen Guide [Basics included]

Top Season 11 Toplane Garen Guide [Basics included]

Updated on March 19, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Alekra Build Guide By Alekra 23 1 55,644 Views 2 Comments
23 1 55,644 Views 2 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Alekra Garen Build Guide By Alekra Updated on March 19, 2021
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Runes: General Runes

Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Second Wind

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


1 2
Option 1
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

Season 11 Toplane Garen Guide [Basics included]

By Alekra

Hello everyone!

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!
Why pick up Garen?
Sadly, Garen mains tend to be looked down apon by other players because Garen is such a simple Champion. But this is not a bad thing. I believe Garen is a very good pick for anyone up to diamond because he really teaches you the fundimentals of the game.

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.

First Tree:


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.

Second Tree:


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.

Additional Runes:

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.
Check here for the exact numbers:

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.

Situational Items

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.
I provided tips for almost every matchup under the "Threat" section.
Early Game/ Laning Phase
The Laning Phase is very dependent on your lane opponent. But with every lane you will want to focus on your farm, as it is by far your primary source of income. If you think you can win against your opponent, you can trade early when no enemy minions are low and your opponent goes for a lasthit. Hit him with an autoattack and follow it up with Q, then disengage for a pretty good trade.

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.
Mid- and Lategame
In the midgame you are looking for two things: Start splitpushing if there are no objectives or join fights to secure them. You do not want to join up with your team just to stand around for 40 seconds doing nothing while loosing CS, XP and alot of pressure.

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.
League of Legends Build Guide Author Alekra
Alekra Garen Guide
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Season 11 Toplane Garen Guide [Basics included]

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