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Garen Build Guide by Senpai Junior

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Senpai Junior

The Adventures of AP Garen

Senpai Junior Last updated on August 14, 2014
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Team 1


Team 2

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: 21

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hath built this guide to preach about the wonders in the Adventures of AP Garen.

Here, we will break the meta, and as Barack Obama once said "Change is possible." This guide will help you understand the logic and strength of playing AP Garen. Now, it is unusual to see a Garen building AP, but with the right items, you will carry your teammates to victory.

For proof please visit the bottom of this guide to view pictures.

Also, thank you all who have accompanied me on my Adventures in the League of Legends, I have a Special Thanks section at the bottom of this guide.

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If you are going AP Garen toplane, I recommend 9 flat marks of magic penetration, 9 seals of scaling health, 9 glyphs of scaling magic resist, and 3 quints of magic penetration. This runeset is aimed at promoting Garen's tanky attributes while utilizing magic penetration for your ultimate (Demacian Justice).

As AP Garen support, you want to go for tanky runes. Garen excels as a tank and gets added bonuses from his W (Courage).

I recommend 9 flat marks of armor, 9 glyphs of scaling magic resist, 9 seals of scaling health, and 3 quints of movement speed. A lot of people tend to underestimate the quints of movement speed, but it will help you chase down enemies to get the killing blows and escape close fatalities.

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For masteries, you want to emphasize the offensive skills to maximize magic damage, mainly from landing your ult. Another reasonable mastery set would be to emphasize the defensive masteries instead.

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This is the fun part where we break the meta, and is essential to making AP Garen a success.

Now, Garen has absolutely NO AP scaling on his abilities whatsoever. So why make this guide?

Two reasons:
1) Even though Garen has no AP scaling, his ult deals pure magic damage, and thus having magic penetration in his build makes his ultimate really scary.
2) Even though Garen's E (his spin) deals physical damage, it actually activates the effect of certain AP items! Such items include Rylais slow and Liandry's burn.

In the top lane, I advise to start off with Ruby Crystal and either 2 health pots or a stealth ward. Also, be sure to get a warding trinket for increased vision. The idea is to turn that Ruby Crystal into a Haunting Guise as soon as possible to have early magic penetration from your ult in scoring a lot of mid game kills. To further emphasize the magic penetration and keep up with, or above, the movement speed of your opponent, you next want to build Sorcerer's Shoes.

Ideally you want to rush Liandry's torment as fast as possible. With its burn, you can poke a lot of damage with your E and easily score more kills with your ultimate because of the magic penetration. If you need the movespeed, another early option is to get haunting guise, but rather than rushing Liandry's you can get Sorcerer's shoes. This will have less poke and damage than rushing Liandry's, but your ultimate will have more magic penetration early game and you'll have a lot more movespeed. If you need the extra tankiness early, buy a chain vest or a negatron's cloak, depending on if you are laning against an ad or ap heavy champ. The idea is to turn your chain vest into a Sunfire's cape later, or turn your negatron's cloak into an Abyssal Scepter later.

Rylai's has the benefit of giving you a lot of health and a slowing effect with your E, which also increases the burn damage from Liandry's (double burn damage against movement impaired units). It also gives some good AP which will stack well with Lich Bane or Nashor's Tooth later. Due to the facts that Rylai's works well contingent upon other items in your build, if you choose to build Rylai's at all, I'd recommend it be late game (maybe your 4th or 5th final built item).

Abyssal Scepter and Sunfire's Cape are essential to AP Garen, since Garen excels as a tank where Sunfire's will give you increased health and armor while Abyssal Scepter will give you increased magic resist. On top of this, Sunfire's increases your magic damage dealt per second (let me tell you from experience, that if you have the chance to rush Liandry's and Sunfire's as soon as possible, from the double burn effects your damage per second is really scary). Abyssal Scepter's passive will not only help you deal more damage with your ult, and increase the magic penetration on Liandry's and Sunfire's burn effects, but will also help increase the magic damage of all your team members in teamfights.

For these reasons, the four core iteam of the AP Garen build should include:
1) Liandry's Torment
2) Sorcerer's Shooes
3) Sunfire's Cape
4) Abyssal Scepter

The other 2 items for AP Garen are highly situational, but good choices include:
- Rylai's Scepter as it procs the slowing effect with your E, gives a good health bonus, and increases your AP if you choose to build Nashor's Tooth or Lich Bane
- Lich Bane as it actually puts your AP to use in dealing increased damage as well as giving you increased movespeed
- Guardian Angel for increased survivability and tankiness
- Void Staff for increased magic penetration on his ultimate
- Deathfire Grasp for cooldown reductions, the additional damaging active, and for boosting the strength of your ultimate when you use the active shortly before your ult
- Twin Shadows for increased movespeed and hunting down or locating nearby opponents
- Nashor's Tooth for increased cooldown reduction and putting your AP value to use with increased magic damage on your basic attacks
- Warmogs for increased tankiness
- Locket of the Iron Solari which is greatly useful in teamfights and increasing your tankiness

AP Garen works best in the top lane or in the bottom lane as a support. AP Garen as a support is highly similar to the way you would build AP Garen at top, except you should start off with a Relic Shield, 2 health pots, and a Sight Ward. Also, you want to rush Targon's Brace and Sightstone before building your AP core build. An end game build for AP Garen as a support should look like this:
- Face of the Mountain
- Ruby Sightstone
- Locket of the Iron Solari
- Liandry's Torment
- Rylai's Scepter / Abyssal Scepter (choose one)
- Sorcerer's Shoes / Ninja Tabi / Mercury's Treads (choose one)

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In terms of summoner spells, for AP Garen in the top lane, you should go with any of the following:
- Teleport
- Ghost
- Flash

For AP Garen as a support, you should go with any of the following:
- 1st spell: Exhaust or Heal
- 2nd spell: Ghost, Teleport, or Flash

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Ranked Play

AP Garen, likewise with normals, also works well in ranked play. Just ask keyboardsmash.

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Pros / Cons

- Opponents won't expect the massive damage from your ultimate (can be used as a surprise tactic)
- Garen is still very tanky under this build
- Garen's E (spin) will have increased cc from the slowing effects of Rylais to help your teammates chase down enemies or help your teammates escape from enemies chasing them, while dealing significant damage from Liandry's burn over time

- Highly reliant on you utilizing your ult in the right scenarios + Garen's ult has a significant cooldown timer
- Not as tanky as a traditional full tank Garen

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As an AP Garen, you will lack AD in gaining creep score. Thus early game it is important to utilize your Q (decisive strike) in last hitting minions, until you can later massacre minions with your E (spin) in late game.

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As some proof AP Garen works, I have pasted some pictures below.

Also, AP Garen has received the attention and admiration of the Professional Diamond V Player named keyboardsmash.

This game below was really interesting as it was AP Garen top (me) vs. a traditional tanky/ad Garen top, and as you can see, AP Garen squishes traditional Garen :P

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Special Thanks

Here I would like to thank several people:

Barack Obama's inspiration to break the meta in inspiring me through the words "Change is Possible."

Grimmjow Senpai, Perfect Hunter, and Kony Senpai for allowing me to test Support Garen in the botlane and for them being awesome adcs. Also a thank you to Grimmjow Senpai for trying out AP Garen :P

Keyboardsmash for supporting the AP Garen lifestyle and for inspiring bronze players everywhere.

Kamina Senpai's inspiration to break the meta, and revealing the pure power of Ability Power in many champs. Also a thank you for letting me try out AP Garen in a 1v1 vs Katarina.

Gohan Senpai for support of the AP Garen lifestyle and for teaching me how to play the game.

Foxy Riven for providing useful advice and insight into improving this guide.

BigBozzXE for 1v1ing me, allowing me to test AP Garen in an AP 1v1 showdown (Garen vs Gragas)

PuddingStick cuz he's my homie "Wayne who brings da Pain" and inspires me to deliver his pain capabilities via AP Garen.

For my opponents who played against me, for my epic KDA ratios as AP Garen wouldn't have been possible without your deaths.

And for all who preach and spread word about the Adventures of AP Garen, and continue to experiment with the build to maximize AP Garen's effectiveness.

And Thank You the Reader! :D