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Garen Build Guide by Blurghblah

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Blurghblah

The True Might of Demacia Solos Top

Blurghblah Last updated on July 30, 2012
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Top Lane
Ranked #11 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hello everyone, and welcome to my first guide! I am very excited to teach you guys my ways of playing Garen. This guide will be an analysis of Garen from my perspective, and I hope at least it helps people to get to know and play him better.

    But before we get started, please read the following notes:
  • Your role is to be a figher; AKA: a mix between a tank and a DPS champ
  • You will NOT be the MAIN tank/dps, however, your job is to stay alive long enough to deal a substantial amount of damage.
  • The build up top is there for reference and will NOT GUARANTEE you to win all the time, , but if you use the build mentioned, it will definitely help.
  • The build mentioned will NOT ensure you to be the BEST DPS/Tank, but will give survivability and a good damage input.
With those notices, let's continue on...

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Pros / Cons of Being Garen and Summary

Pros of being Garen

+ High Damage Output.
+ Good Early-game.
+ Good Survivability.
+ A balanced mix of damage, and defensive stats.
+ Hard to catch (with Decisive Strike Speed Boost and Judgement slow removal).
+ No mana or energy required.
+ Squishy killer.
+ Can destroy any low-health champion with Demacian Justice.
+ Great Initiator.

Cons of being Garen

- Not the best tank.
- No hard CC.
- Is out-classed by most champions.
- Damage Output becomes stale late-game.
- Relies on his abilities to be up (he can't really do much without them).

In short, Garen is a melee bruiser, who is adept at killing "squishes". His downside is being too reliant on his abilities, and without them, he can't do much between cooldowns because his whole kit doesn't support auto-attacking.

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9X Greater Mark of Desolation - A must have for Solo-Top, he won't be able to harass effectively if he can't deal enough damage to the opposing champion.

9X Greater Seal of Armor - Again, a must have for Solo-Top, he needs to be able to tank what the enemy is preparing for him at top.

9X Greater Glyph of Armor - I choose more Armor for Garen because he needs to be able to stay in the lane as long as possible to farm and level-up, and because the enemy is most likely AD top, he can achieve this feat much more easily.

3X Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage - He needs this for his ability scaling, as well as to help him last hit much easier.

Alternative Runes

9X Greater Mark of Attack Damage
9X Greater Seal of Armor
9X Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
3X Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

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I chose 9/21/0 for his masteries because I felt the Defensive Mastery Tree synced much better with Garen than the Offensive Tree, however, you can always switch to 21/9/0, if you feel the opposite way.

Since Garen needs to stay in lane longer, he needs all the resistances, health and regen bonuses in order to do so. The added Movement Speed and Cooldown Reduction is a nice bonus as well for him because those are the stats he also benefits from.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

I start off with his Q because the damage up-front is just insane at Level 1, the added Silence and Speed Boost also help you disengage from harassment quickly and safely. At Level 2, I chose his W, because its important to get his passive stacked as soon as possible to make him a durable foe. Then I proceed to max his E immediately because it's his signature move and most reliable source of DPS.

Try focusing E->Q->W for maximum damage output.

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Summoner Spells

Recommended Spells

Exhaust - This is cherry on top of the cake, Exhaust makes it easy for you to get the early game kill with Judgment because it allows the enemy to stay for the entire duration of your ability. The other great reason is because it can completely shut-down anybody's DPS, whether or not they are fed; unless they have Cleanse or Quicksilver Sash.
Ignite - Its great for when you want to be very aggressive top lane and want to get a kill as soon as possible by finishing them off with this spell. The damage and heal reduction are good, but I prefer Exhaust because of it's versatility.
Flash - Since most people carry around Flash, it's only fair to do the same in-order to counter their escape, as well as to strengthen yours. Its a good spell to carry around because it can allow for dynamic plays.
Ghost - Ghost can sync well with Garen because it can allow for him to chase/catch-up with whom ever he wants, but if someone were to Flash over a wall, you'd be essentially ****-blocked.

Decent Spells

Cleanse - Not a necessarily bad spell, but I find his Decisive Strike speed boost and Judgment slow removal and reduction to be good enough against kiting, and with other CC in hand, Tenacity will always help you out.
Heal - Heal is decent; it can be useful for emergency situations or for heal-baiting, but you have your Perseverance and Health Potions to rely on, and the spell doesn't scale very well.
Teleport - Not that great of a spell, but it allows for map presence and also helps you get back in to lane almost instantly, however, the cooldown is too long, and all the other spells will help better determine the outcome of team-fights, and perhaps the game.

Not Recommended (Bad on this champion or just bad overall)

Revive - Your job is not to die as much; if any at all, and this goes for EVERYONE. Anyways, the cooldown is VERY long, and isn't worth it for lack of advantage.
Smite - You aren't jungling.
Surge - No.
Clarity - Just no.
Promote - Such a waste because the promoted minion can still die so easily.
Clairvoyance - Do you look like a support?

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I start off with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions because the boots allow for you to harass the enemy while being able to retreat quickly, and the potions are there to help you sustain.

After, I get a Doran's Shield because the needed stats are there and its pretty cheap, and a The Brutalizer because again, it has all his needed stats and syncs well with him.

Doran's Blade is sort of a waste of money on Garen because it requires you to be auto-attacking a lot, in order to truly benefit from the life-steal it has. Garen doesn't really do much auto-attacking (besides last-hitting), and by doing so, it promotes lane pushing.

For boots, Mercury's Treads seemed to be the best choice because it allows him to recover much quicker from CC and gives some needed MR.

I then rush Warmog's Armor because it's passive needs to be stacked ASAP if you want to be durable. After that I get a Sunfire Cape for the stats and increased damage, and an Atma's Impaler to sync damage with all the health you've gotten so far.

For late-game I finish off with a Force of Nature for the MR and regen, as well as the speed bonus, and a Infinity Edge to further increase his overall damage with his Judgment.

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Playing as Garen

As a bruiser, you are not a tank, so will depend on your tank to do the initiations in team-fights, while you back him up with damage and additional damage absorption.

Your job is to focus either the AD Carry or AP Caster in their team, however, if your own AD Carry is in trouble, provide some assistance whenever possible. You should be able to stick onto them with your high movement speed and slow removal/reduction. Since Garen has simple mechanics, there doesn't have to have to have much explanation in his role, however, you should remember NOT to steal kills off of your carry, as they do more damage than you and require items to be effective.

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Pro Tips and Tricks

  • Use your Decisive Strike and Judgment in order for a speedy get-away
  • Decisive Strike refreshes your auto-attack, so use it as soon as you land a basic attack for maximum damage output.
  • During your Judgment, you are free to use your abilities. Casting Demacian Justice will not stop it, but will activate as soon as the ability ends.
  • Judgment benefits from Critical Strike and Critical Damage, however, only the bonus damage is taken into effect, not the base damage.