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The Viable DPS Garen Complete Guide to Awesomeness

Last updated on November 18, 2010
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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

Table of Contents

Why DPS Garen?.....................................3
Masteries and Runes.......................................4
Summoner skills ..........................................5
What items NOT to buy.....................................7
Friends and Laning........................................8
Our enemies...............................................9
Advanced Tips and Tricks..................................10

Garen, The Might of Demacia

Throughout Valoran, the resolve of Demacia's military is alternatively celebrated or despised, but always respected. Their ''zero tolerance'' moral code is strictly upheld by civilians and soldiers alike. In combat, this means Demacian troops may not make excuses, flee or surrender under any cirumstance. These principles are espoused to their forces by unrivaled demagogues who lead by example. Garen, the valiant warrior who bears the title ''the Might of Demacia'', is the paradigm to which these leaders are compared. Thousands of great heroes have risen and fallen on the bloody battlefields between Demacia and its preeminent rival, Noxus. It was beneath their mighty banners of war that Garen first met steel with Katarina, the Blade Mistress. The infantrymen who beheld this event (and survived) commented that it seemed as though the two were locked in a mortal waltz against a symphony of clashing blades.
Garen, the pride of the Demacian military and leader of the Dauntless Vanguard, returned from this battle breathless for the first time in his career, though some speculate that this was due to reasons other than exhaustion. The plausibility of these rumors was bolstered when, in every instance thereafter, Garen seized the opportunity to encounter the Blade Mistress again. A paragon of Demacian ethic, Garen never entertained such allegations, for he knew others couldn't understand. Even simply the pursuit of a worthy opponent on the battlefield is, to a true warrior, the reason to rise each morning. The promise of one, particularly so beautifully and diametrically opposed, is the validation of his existence.
''The most effective way to kill an opponent is to slice through the man next to him.''
- Garen, on front line strategy

1. Introduction

Hello, my name is Koh11 and welcome to my first guide on Garen, the mother#%&$ing Might of Demacia.
So lets get straight to buisness, why the %#&$ should YOU play Garen? Here's the top 5 reasons to play Garen.

1.) He's one badass mother#%&$er. Yes, that's right he was in the bushes with your mom yelling DEMACCCCIIIAAAAAA!!!!
2.) He's got a scarf. Well, what's a scarf gonna do? Touch that scarf and he's gonna kick your *** yelling DEMMMAAAACIIIAAAAAAAA!!!
3.) Bushes are Garen's Strip Club. Everything that goes on inside those bushes, Garen knows it. You enter his strip club, you enter hell. Because all your gonna be hearing in those bushes is the sound of DEMMMACCIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! (ripping on your nuts that is)
4.) His sword. Oh god, his sword, it is the epitome of the word DEMACCCIIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAA!!!
5.) This always makes me lol but so true, but nonetheless DEMMMACCCIIAAAAAAAAAA!!!

2. Abilities


One of the greatest passives early game. One of the ****piest passives late game. That sums it up to be honest. I am not gonna over-exaggerate it like most people, who says "OH MY GOD ARE YOU KIDDING ME? GAREN GOES IN BUSHES AND IS FULL HP IN THE NEXT 2 SECONDS" That kind of stuff only happens when the other team is not stupid enough to poke Garen every 7 seconds.

So how do you use this great early game passive you say?
Simply go in the bushes (not the warded ones for god's sake) and not get hit for a good amount of time while you heal up. You can successfully regenerate even while taking out creep waves but you have to make sure not to get hit by enemy champions while doing so. You have to know the amount of range, you and your enemies are in to successfully pull this off, and well you need a good laning partner too.

So how do you use this ****py late game passive you say?
In order to use it to its full capability you need items such as Spirit Visage and a decent amount of health/health regeneration like Warmogs and Force of Nature. Unfortunately this build only focuses on one of those items but it still utilizes this passive to great effect unless like most other builds, especially when you are dealing with mages such as Zilean and Karthus, as they tend to rely on last hits in killing you. Just simply make sure you know when to back out so your passive activates beforehand because when it does, you will most likely out-heal the amount of damage they would have killed you with anyways.

Decisive Strike:

The bane of all melee champs and most casters as well for 2.5 seconds that is. Its a great skill for last hitting creeps as well. Most often I see people complain "GAREN SILENCED ME FOR 2.5 SECONDS. WAAAAAA OP OP OP!". Sure its OP, given you are stupid enough to let Garen get his way with it. A great skill for escaping and semi-initiating as well.

So how do you use the bane of all Melee and most Caster Champs?
Simple, if its a 1v1 situation, Garen excels at combat in short burts. So be sure to activate Decisive Strike, when your oppponent is either running away or in melee range. As soon as the silence slips on, you need to be able to make sure to deal out the max amount of damage possible in those 2.5 seconds and then back off (unless you are positive you can kill them). AFTER those 2.5 seconds, wait until it recharges and repeat the same combo over. This will wear out your opponent, and most likely he will have his team help out by then. As soon as a team fight breaks out, you should already be at an advantage, given that specific champ you were focusing blue pilled or is still there (which you take advantage of) by ensuring yourself a kill.


The reason for Garen's tankiness. The reason, Garen is considered by far one of the best melee champions in the game. Regardless, this is the skill that will decide, whether someone kicks your *** or whether you kick someone else's ***. When all else seems to fail with Garen, this is the skill that will save you in most situations from dying at the spot.

So how do you use Courage to save yourself?
Well for one, don't waste it. Keep leveling it constantly, to make sure you fill the role of that "Beefy" DPS. Most often I see people activate courage way before even a team fight starts and jump right in. That is completely stupid. I am here to tell those people that they should learn to use it when you are sure, YOU are the enemy's focus of attention, otherwise there is absolutely no use in wasting it for 4 seconds even before a teamfight breaks out. Bottom Line use it, WHEN in battle, you need those precious 4 seconds to make all the difference you can.


The reason Garen's strip club (bushes) is so unpopular, only Garen strips there and he kills anyone who dares take off their panties in front of him (Garen gets shy and kills anyone who dares look at him). This ability is Garen's nuke early game and Garen's anti-cc late game. It can't be described any better for DPS Garen. Early game, you use it to ***-rape anyone who tries to come close to you. Late game, you use it to save your *** from anyone who tries to ***-rape you. Great for chasing and last hitting as well, once someone slips an exhaust on you and tries to get away with it.

So how do you use Judgement?
This simple figure demonstrates how to use Judgement to its full effectiveness. Spin2Win

Demacian Justice:

Garen's ultimate and one-hit KO. The reason that Garen runs all across the map from one end to your end just to kill-steal that bastard Teemo at 2 HP. I think its safe to assume, Garen is probably one of the toughest champions to outdamage when this ability is not on its cooldown. You need to use this ability to kill-steal since you are a carry with this build. Sure your team will hate you but tell them its for their own good. Unless you were tank Garen then yeah I guess, I could understand but with this you are CARRYING. A simple mechanic of how it works is the lower someone's amount of total HP is, it deals more magic damage based on that concept. So for god's sake don't use it on someone with 100% HP and tell them Koh11 told me to do it.

How do you use this awesome ultimate of Garen to rape?
Hit R.

3.) Why DPS Garen?

So here's the main and the hardest question that people ever asked me:
"Koh11 why the #$%* do you play DPS Garen when you know DPS Garen sucks?"

I want to share a bit of my history with Garen, before I answer this question. My first main champion on League of Legends was Kayle. However, that was until I found out she was had tits, when I first clicked that story tab on her character profile. Not to say I don't love tits or anything, I was looking for a strong awesome character to play. And then one day it happened, I just....saw Garen...and I felt those little butterflies in my stomach and I knew it was just meant to and him...alone until I found out that **** of Katarina liked him more that stupid litt... but that's a different story. I wanted to play a character with that "up in the face of others" and Garen fit that role perfectly.

What happened next?
Well needless to say I was honestly hell of impressed with Garen back in the pre-nerf Courage and Judgement days. As nerf patches came and hit Garen eventually affecting the meta-game somewhat, I was a bit less used to more and more people countering Garen (Sunfire Garen) in better and new effective ways. Well you can say, people learned to stop being stupid and actually get Armor and Magic Resist to counter Garen. Regardless, I felt more and more like Garen being outperformed by other tanks such as Rammus, Blitz, Shen...the list goes on. So I stopped and looked at DPS builds. I am going to be honest, the first DPS builds I tried out were DEWO's and ones. I remember the first time I came across DEWO's guide I was pretty impressed and pumped up to go give DPS Garen relentless shots until the many games that I came across, I had almost no role on the team. Rushing Frozen Mallet proved to be a complete waste, getting Infinity Edge seemed to be an early waste as the second Garen got focused he would go down in 2 hits. Along with many other issues, I got VERY hopeless and decided to just go back to Tank Garen. In the end, I came across Ruspiglet's guide and did use it for quite a long time seeing as DPS Garen (Crit Garen to be precise) relatively had little use.

The Reign of a New Garen:
Anyways if you bothered reading all of that **** up there, you can see even me for a relative amount of time being started to think that perhaps Sunfire Garen was possibly the best strat for Garen until Riot buffed Garen's scaling on Judgement. Anyways in time, ONCE AGAIN, I noticed Tank Garen had absolutely no role on a team fight (even with Sunfires) and this time came to confirm it from a 300+ Games experience with Garen. So I decided to test on my own, regardless of how much failure I would have to put up with. My initial ideas were to build like a Hybrid Mundo at first but seeing I would eventually come up with the same problem in the end (No Role on a team) and much too expensive to be actually effective. You would be screwing your early game for your late game and not even be sure to pull it off all in the end. So one day on the league craft builder I came across a semi-******ed idea, I decided to test it out.

The Answer:
Although it might have seemed at first the most ******ed idea I had ever come across, it made a lot of sense once I decided to think about it. My first thought that day was what makes Sunfire Garen so godamn viable instead of a DPS Garen? (Okay maybe the first thought was about something related to Tits). As I repeated how Sunfires did "MAGIC" Damage, it finally hit me, I had the craziest idea ever. If Sunfires are amazing for the sole reason they do magic damage how would an item such as Madred's bloodrazor be since it boosts Garen's ALREADY high amount of physical damage and a -4% per hit and on top of all that pile of **** gives Armor. I was like WTF!?!??!?! NO THIS CAN'T BE. Anyways then came the life steal problem, and I was already aware of how expensive a Blood Thirsted would be, since it would devastate Garen's early game with so much resources so I came across probably the most cost-effective Life-Steal Related item in game, Wriggle's Lantern (Free ward as well). Then came his passive problem, it sucked but I knew he needed Magic Resist and Force of Nature already fit that role pretty darn well. Rest was explanatory, You need Crit on Garen to make sure his Judgement isn't completely **** (though still is) and the fact that someone purely magic resist against you won't completely get away with it. There's a lot of pluses and many extra things I thought, but I guess, people will get annoyed reading through this pile of ****. No I won't give a summary either because people need to understand why I build this mother#$@%ing way.

4.) Masteries and Runes:

For Masteries:
I like to use 21/9/0
Because of Nimbleness, as you need to be able to get away while spinning and using ghost.
I don't particularly like 0/21/9 as it completely screws up your damage output in early game. 9/21/0 can be decent but really I don't think an extra 60 HP will be much to compensate for the amount of damage (the only thing attractive is -4% damage). 21/0/9 gives you extra experience but... I would much rather have the ability to run away faster on every 1/10th hit or so.

You are probably wondering why I put a point in exhaust?
Thatt 4th point can go anywhere as you just need to proceed further in the offensive tree.

Why not a point in Ghost in the Utility tree you ask?
Because I believe a 10% movement speed procing from the Dodge is greater than 6% when in fact all you need to do to be able to achieve it is run through a wave of minions even while ghosting.

For Runes:
Armor Pen marks (definitely no other choice here)
Armor/lvl seals (Gives 24 armor bonus at level 18, that's like a second Courage Holy ****!)
Magic Resist/lvl glyphs (Gives 24 Magic Resist, your second Courage is complete)
2 Armor Pen Quints + 1 Movement Quint OR 3 Movement Quints

Why not Dodge seals since you have Nimbleness Koh11? Are you stupid?
No I am not stupid. You honestly think 6% dodge is going to help you more than 24 armor at level 18? Think this over, you are getting a SECOND COURAGE. Don't miss out on it.

Why Movement quints Koh11? Are you trying to mess with my head?
No I am not. If you have been keeping up with the recent changes to Garen, you might have noticed his base speed was nerfed from 320 to 315. Getting just one movement quint helps you back up to his pre-nerf base speed. Getting a total of all 3 means, you have +4.5% speed, believe me it makes a difference while chasing. Though its up to preference if you are willing to sacrifice two Armor Pen Quints for it. Both are VERY viable. You need atleast one movement quint regardless.

Koh11 you blasphemous bastard, you dare take out CDR and CDR/lvl Runes on GAREN?
No you are the blasphemous bastard that needs to understand you get a SECOND COURAGE from MR/LVL. THATS A BIG DIFFERENCE.

5.) Summoner Skills:

Ghost: An absolute must for Garen. I don't care who you think you are, this is a must. Chasing/Escaping/Quick Jack-off in the bushes so no one sees you, you name it. You will be running so fast they will think it was Milf Fortune jacking off in those bushes instead. Getting focused? Scared? Ready to piss your pants? Spin + Ghost = Watch Garen go off in the sunset while other team rages and pisses their pants instead.
Flash: Its not the fact that Flash gets you out of sticky situations very easily. Its more of the fact that it can be used offensively AND defensively. Early game while hiding in the bushes, and flashing out of the bushes leaves the other player traumatized since Silence and Spin is too hard for him to handle.

Other Summoner spells: To be honest, I don't find anything more effective on him, not even Exhaust or Ignite. If you have a decent team (Should always have CC regardless), you should always get them with that Ghost + Flash out of the bushes combo. Mid-Game grab the Lizard Buff, and tell your ******ed team-mates not to ks it from you.

6.) Items/Game Phases:

This is the part where I get turned on the most. REALLY KOH11? ............. What do you think...? OFCOURSE I DO =D!!!! 8========>
Moving On..

Early Game:

Start out withand five of these

Start out with, two of theseand one

Early-Mid Game:

Your first item regardless should beYou need this to get the #$%@ out of situations, where you are being focused, or you feel you are in a dangerous spot. The 10% extra boost from nimbless should easily proc if you get hit by a couple of minions or an enemy champ next to you.

If the other team is Extremely or heavily CC-based, Merc Treads would be the option here but later on you are going to need to buy Phantom Dancer instead of Last Whisper.

Next start to build yourStart with the Blood Razor (Armor and Damage) then the Recurve Bow, THEN Pick Axe. It allows you to last-hit more easily and the ability to take out towers more easily in case the enemy champ happens to blue-pill and you want to take a couple shots on their tower. Don't be greedy however. Although once you have this item, your judgement should be hitting like a truck already. Furthermore your auto-attacks will only hurt more. This is how you will need to play -> Decisive Strike -> Auto-Attack -> They run -> Judgement to chase -> Repeat.


If you AND your team have managed to play decently by far (Not feed the other team in simple words) and not managed to run straight to their nexus by now, you should obviously feeling the fact that the second you come across someone like fiddles or in general any mage, they WILL hurt you. In particular you need to make sure you aren't the target of someone like Malzahar specifically in this game phase. That's why the second you get your Madred's Blood Razors your next item should beAND

Mid-Late Game:

This will be the phase where your damage should become mediocre if the enemy team's been keeping up with you. If they haven't well, there's about a 70% probability that you should be leading and that if you play your cards right in this phase (not just you, your team as well) you have pretty much won the game.
As this phase starts, start out with afor a maximum amount of cost efficiency
and then work your way up to

Late Game:

Start to work onstarting out with B.F. Sword possibly. People say this is the worst item to build on a Garen, well guess what? I am here to prove them wrong. How am I going to prove them wrong? Well lets put it this way, if you spend your early game trying to rush this item on Garen, you really are a ****** but mid-late game when specifically on Garen, you need to be able to confuse your opponents into thinking about investing into Armor or Magic Resist or your damage will indeed become VERY mediocre. You don't want to let that happen that's why Garen needs crit items when other things don't seem to be doing much damage. Its his LAST trump card and it works. Though most games won't last beyond one of the components of an IE, your next item would beor
Note 1: Your phantom dancer would come first before I.E. if you started with merc treads, as you need the benefit from Nimbleness.

Note 2: If you went in the order I mentioned, get PD if you need more survivability against carries and casters, as you will be in and out quick. Use Last Whisper if your opponents managed to earn a brain to get some form of resists in Armor.

7.) What items NOT to buy

Yeah well #$%& you too Bro. let me put it in simple math for you. Sunfires deal 40 magic damage per second. Madred's deal 7x the amount of damage you would do with a Funfire EVER. The components of Sunfire Capes SUCKS *** from a purely DPS point of view. Any MDPS or RDPS rapes you Mid-Late game, you want that so bad, go play a tank build and be useless late game without any form of CC. (But you can rape early game against noobs =D)

2.)I swear to god I heard Ruspiglets say this item was made for Garen. I mean okay back in the day Ruspiglets was my idol for making an unkillable Garen who pisses people off by just being there and thus people mistake his ability to piss off noobs as CC but that's not how it works. I wanna know why the hell you would even bother getting this item? Are you rammus with you extra +300 ****ing armor/mres. The answer is no. This item's useless on DPS Garen besides the CDR. If you are so desperate for Armor, go for a ****ing Thornmail instead, though I doubt you would need to, just disregarding the fact this build has 170+ armor and 14% dodge in mid game.

3.)For god's sake don't build this on Garen, even if this build revolves around auto-attacking late game. Dude just don't build it. Just no don't. STFU I SAID DON'T BUILD IT. I am gonna quote Ruspiglets (this being one of the things i agree with him on)
"I mean I lost every game when I was rushing this thing.
Olaf can use it.
Teemo can use it.
Xin Zhaoooo can use it.
Garen can suck balls with it."

Why does Garen suck balls with it? Because Garen doesn't like balls, and if you make him suck those with an extra 700 HP and probably the ****piest slow ever, you deserve to die for not having taking 10 seconds to kill and go get a lizard buff instead. Oh did I mention, getting Armor and Magic Resist instead actually gives you a HIGHER AMOUNT OF EFFECTIVE HP? Unless your against true damage dealers such as Brolaf and well Irelia. But why of why the hell did Riot give Garen a slience then? It POSSIBLY couldn't be for those situations. D:

Still in Work.....