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Garen Build Guide by HmongkyKing21

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League of Legends Build Guide Author HmongkyKing21

Victory Awaits! - Garen, the Might of Demacia Tanky SOLO TOP

HmongkyKing21 Last updated on September 26, 2012
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Team 1

LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #12 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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Hi there! I'm Hmonkyking21

Hey guys! As of right now, this is going to be one of my first builds. And as you can see, it's for Garen. I love playing Garen as solo top, especially with this build. You get very tanky, and your damage still scares the **** out of the other team. This Garen is fun to play, and is very effective for fighting against teams of any set up. (Useful Tip: Don't KS with your ulti, or else people will despise you) ^_^ Before we begin though, I'd like to state that this build won't make you invincible. It won't make you the best, and it sure as hell won't make you win 24/7. I have devised this build myself, and it is effective for me. If you do not like it, don't just thumbs down, give me a reason, and any tips. I am open for constructive criticism. :)

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Pros / Cons

+ Great damage through out game
+ Extremely tanky
+ Build is effective against any team set up
+ Health regeneration is THROUGH THE ROOF
+ Don't need Warmog's
+ Spin for the Win! ;)
+ No need for Lifesteal
- Runs pretty slow until you grab Force of Nature
- Not many escape methods
- Build is moderately expensive
- Ignite is a bit of a pain

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Summoner Spells


Teleport - This is mainly because Garen is solo top, and because he runs. Very. Slow. You're going to need it to get back to lane, or to save a tower across the map. (Or recall, grab your item, tele back, and push tower)

Flash - I get this because it will help with escaping. Garen, although he can do some pretty good damage, does not have an escape methods other than Decisive Strike to run a little faster. Flash over a wall and make your great escape. ^_^

Ghost - You can use this in place of Flash OR Tele, you can escape with it, you can chase with it.

Exhaust - Once again, you can use it to escape or chase, but it's also great for making that enemy AD carry that much less effective.

What's ok to get

Ignite - If you want kills, go for it. I'm not stopping you.

Cleanse - Ok escape method, but not really worth it since you have your Judgment

Don't even consider

Promote You're Garen. You don't need a big minion for back up.

Clarity ...

Clairvoyance Leave the support Summoner spell to a support

Surge Sure getting big is cool, but....the extra AP is useless

Smite ...This is obviously not a Jungle Garen build

Heal You're Garen... ¬.¬ ⌐.⌐

Revive If you need this you're just...bad...

Garrison I don't play Dominion, but if you do, I guess...?

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Passive: Perseverance This has got to be one of my most favorite passives in the game. This is what makes Garen one of the best solo-tops. After 10 seconds of taking no damage, you start regaining 0.5% of your MAXIMUM health. That's more than a Force of Nature! Sustainability is what it's all about in top lane, and this passive makes Garen nearly immovable.

Q: Decisive Strike - Garen gains a burst of Movement Speed, breaking free of all slows affecting him and his next attack strikes a vital area of his foe, dealing bonus damage and silencing them.
Garen breaks free from all slows affecting him and gains 35% Movement Speed for 1.5/2.25/3/3.75/4.5 seconds.

His next basic attack deals 30/55/80/105/130 (+1.4) physical damage and silences his target for 1.5/1.75/2/2.25/2.5 seconds.

No Cost

Silence for 2.5 seconds. THAT IS AWESOME! Silence Nunu's ultimate , Silence Caitlyn's ultimate, Silence Katarina's ultimate, Silence Malzahar's ultimate. SO MANY USES! Don't forget the extra speed boost that it gives. It's perfect for chasing, running away, escaping ganks, etc., etc. I max this ability second. Since the patch, the silence isn't as long as it used to be for early game, but it's still very effective.

W: Courage - Garen passively increases his Armor and Magic Resist. He may also activate this ability to grant himself a shield that reduces incoming damage and crowd control effects for a short duration.
Passive: Garen's Armor and Magic Resist are increased by 20%.

Active: Garen gains a defensive shield for 2/3/4/5/6 seconds, reducing incoming damage by 30% and granting 30% Crowd Control Reduction.

Since the patch, you no longer gain flat armor and MR, but now receive a 20% gain. Although this isn't as nice as it was for early game tankiness, it allows for you to get way tankier than you were before during lategame. But this also only depends on how much defense you get. Remember, only 20%, so if you were only to get a total of 100 armor, you'll have an extra of 20 armor only. If you got 200 armor though, you'd receive an extra 40 armor. (Same for MR) This is actually GREAT for Garen. Early game may not be as tanky, but it is still what matters late game. Also 30% less damage taken and CC effects is GREAT! It is unbelievable how tanky you get just because of the active of this ability.

E: Judgment - Garen performs a dance of death with his sword, dealing damage around him for the duration.
Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, dealing 20/45/70/95/120 plus 70/80/90/100/110% of his attack (+0.7/0.8/0.9/1.0/1.1) as physical damage to nearby enemies every second. Garen ignores unit collisions while spinning but moves 20% slower when travelling directly through units.

Judgment can critically strike dealing bonus damage.
Judgment deals 25% less damage to minions and monsters.

This ability is just awesome for harassing. It is very good for farming as well, but the damage that it does early is just ridiculous. Use it to zone out your enemy, or just to scare 'em a bit so they won't be so aggressive. Like I said before, if you want to, you could get Avarice Blade to help support this ability. The extra crit chance only makes it more powerful, so it wouldn't be a minus to the build. The only reason that I don't add this item to the main build is because it's not totally necessary for the success of the build. Since the patch, this ability is able to scale off of AD better than before. It also scales off it to late game WAY better than before. So when maxing this ability out first, your damage will help you zone out enemy tops better than before.

R/Ultimate: Demacian Justice - Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to deal a finishing blow to an enemy champion that deals damage based upon how much Health his target has missing.
Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to attempt to execute an enemy champion, dealing 175/350/525 magic damage plus 1 damage for every 3.5/3/2.5 Health the target is missing.

This Ultimate is absolutely beautiful. Literally and figuratively. The animation is awesome, and the damage that it does is magnificent. You can easily finish off ANYONE with this ability. Also, the more health they have (i.e., Cho'Gath, Olaf, Dr. Mundo) the more damage it does! It's hard to explain, but let's put it this way. If Demacian Justice does more damage based on how much health that Dr. Mundo is missing, and he has about 4k max HP. If Dr. Mundo is at about 1.5k Hp remaining. That means that about 2.5k HP is missing. So, 2.5k divided by 2.5 equals 1000. 1000 + 525 = Dead Dr. Mundo. That's nearly HALF his total HP! Garen is one of the best tank killers out there in my opinion.

So basically, when you're initiating a fight, your abilities would be like this. Q,W, run in, silence (Insert enemy champion name here), Spin ftw. How am I able to do so much damage you ask? Well, if you are at level 18 with your full build, that means you have Sunfire Cape on you. While you are spinning IN THE MIDDLE of the fight, the enemy team is steadily taking 40 damage per second. Remember that Judgment is also has DoT(Damage over Time). With these two together you should be hitting all the squishies pretty hard. You can't forget Thornmail. As the AD carries are hitting you, they're taking 30% of the damage that they're dealing. In most cases, all that the AD carry has is one The Bloodthirster. That means that they should be stealing about 20% of their damage back, meaning that they're still not healing over Thornmail, plus all of the damage from Sunfire Cape and Judgment. Remember, also that you are steadily regaining life from Randuin's Omen and Force of Nature. The damage you're taking is reduced from the effect of Courage. This means that even if you're just standing there spinning, their team is most likely taking more damage than you are. (You can't forget the damage output from your own teammates) And you shouldn't need to worry about your teammates dying. Your damage is making them focus you, yet you're unkillable. As you stand there and take damage, your team kills their Ad Carry, Ap Carry, Jungler, Support, you guys finish off the tank for an Ace, and win the game. ^_^

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Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Health

Greater Quintessence of Armor
These runes are based on early game survivability and being able to dish out damage.
I use ArmPen marks because they help you deal damage more effectively. Trust me, when you're hurting them a lot, they're going to start building armor. ArmPen marks are going to help you get around it, along with The Brutalizer.
You can use either of these Seals depending on whether you'd like more health or armor. I prefer to have health so that I don't need Warmog's in game.
Magic resist is a must. You don't want that Rumble burning your butt all day.
Quints also have two options for the same reason as Seals.
You may also use Attack Speed Quints for helping to finish people off. As we all know, Garen's attack speed is pretty slow.

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Garen needs to be tanky(IMO). Especially if you're solo top. Nobody likes a squishy Garen. The main point of these masteries is living a long and healthy life. ;) Even though you're basically tanking for the team, you still need the 9 in Offense so you can do damage. The ability to be a threat to the other team is NECESSARY in a tank. In order to be a threat, you must be able to do damage, and to disrupt the enemy team as much as possible. And although masteries give very little improvements, getting as tanky as you can is VERY helpful.

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Doran's Shield Is always a good item to start out with. The extra HP and Defense is indispensable early game.

Boots of Speed You'll need this to get away from ganks, since Garen is pretty darn slow

Heart of Gold Is necessary for the extra Gold income. The extra health also means that you're tankier, and you can harass with a bit of safety. (Optional: If you want even MORE gold income, you can get Avarice Blade. Other than the gold income, the extra crit chance will back up Judgment)

Mercury Treads Stuns and Fears are less effective, meaning your chances of escape or better. The extra Magic resist and tenacity will help with that annoying Annie stunning you every time.

The Brutalizer Is good for early game damage. Although it is sold later on for Infinity Edge, it will be worth the money. Another option is to skip this entirely if you want to get tanky right away.

Sunfire Cape This is where you start to get tanky. That Yorick is doing no damage to you as you Spin in has face and roast his hat off.

Force of Nature Now, you'll be untouchable by those AP carries! And your Health regen just shot up. You won't need to recall after a fight. (Unless you got hit REALLLLY bad)

Thornmail Take that AD carries. Now you have to pay a price just to hit me. 30% back in yo FACE! ^_^

Randuin's Omen Fed Caitlyn? No problemo. Fed Tryn? Questionable...(Remember, you're not invincible) IMPORTANT NOTE!~ DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT FORGET THE ACTIVE IN A TEAM FIGHT! IT WILL SAVE YOUR SQUISHIES FROM THEIR AD CARRY(s)!(i.e., Yi) Also, your Health Regen just shot up again, and you probably won't have any scars from fighting that Talon.

Infinity Edge Awwwww yea! The damage from Judgment gets an upgrade! Plus since the buff, your Q is going to do a bit more damage now too.

You should end with Mercury Treads, Sunfire Cape, Force of Nature, Thornmail, Randuin's Omen, and Infinity Edge

The secondary build is just as viable as the first, but it get's you to be a little more tanky.

Frozen Mallet Is there to help with Atma's along with the extra slow. Frozen Mallet and Warmog's Armor are interchangeable in the secondary build. I mostly grab Frozen Mallet, but I would recommend grabbing Warmog's Armor when your team has enough CC. The tankier, the better. :)

Atma's Impaler is a great item for Garen. It replaces Infinity Edge since you still have the crit, but just not as much damage. Trust me, the extra armor is going to be very helpful.

Other than the two last items, the base build is pretty much the same.

Other viable items

Guardian Angel GA is one of the best items in the game, but you're usually tanky enough so that you wouldn't die in a fight. If you need to grab it, Swap out IE or the Frozen Mallet/ Atma's Impaler combo.

Last Whisper You can grab this if you want to hit through the enemy's armor, but honestly, as Garen you're not going to be doing that great with your basic attacks anyways. Might as well have Frozen Mallet for the slow.

Maw of Malmortius This item is a great replace for IE if you want to get a lot tankier. The extra shield could save your life and the lower your HP, the more AD.

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Early Game - Mid Game- Late Game

As Off-tank Garen, your job is to stay in the fight and do as much damage to everyone as you can. If you're able to do damage, that is what causes them to focus you. Don't worry, you can tank it. Your OTHER job is to make sure that Katarina or Malzahar gets their ultimate SILENCED! Don't let that Kat get a penta! Silence her and use YOUR spin for the win! >:)


You're going to focus on last-hitting minions as much as possible. Use Judgment to help farm. Also, try getting to Lv3 and grabbing Courage as quick as possible. This is where you must stack your armor and magic resist so you can fight safely. Work towards your Heart of Gold quickly and don't get too butt-hurt by the enemy. Get Merc Treads and Brutalizer, push the lane, and go gank mid.


If you're still sitting in lane, and you don't have your Sunfire Cape yet, just keep holding out until you get it, and you can start diving. If your turret has been destroyed, still get your Sunfire Cape, but continue farming and roam around. If your jungler isn't too greedy, take the wolves regularly for extra money. Teamfights should start appearing here and there, so make sure you're there to initiate, or to make sure that Katarina gets her self SILENCED. Continue building Force of Nature and DO NOT DIE.


Get Thornmail and continue fighting. If you're the only beefy guy on your team, DON'T DIE. Squishies can't protect you from near ace counter-attacks from the enemy as well as tanky people can. Finish off Randuin's and go try to ace their team with the Active. If you can't, keep picking them off one by one and make sure to stick together. If ANYBODY is going to face-check a bush/baron/dragon, it's going to be YOU. If it really takes THAT long, Grab that IE and finish the darn game.

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Why not AD???

So by now you must be asking "Why not straight up AD Garen?". Well I can explain. Garen is meant to be a bruiser, and yea Bruisers shouldn't be building straight up tank, right? Well I feel that Garen is just as viable being a tank as he is a Bruiser, but straight up AD is just not great. I know since the patch he's been ALRIGHT going straight AD, but Garen is the type of fighter that really needs to last in a fight. If you run in and die just because you're busy spinning away while stunned, snared, permaslowed, what's the point of all that damage? If you're tanky, your DPS is going to be higher than if you were going straight AD. Sunfire Cape + Judgment while in the middle of the enemy team is going to be much more effective than you basic attacking one guy and dying in 5 seconds. Also, if you're going to initiate while not being tanky, you'll die in the process of running at them meaning that your team will be one down, and you wouldn't have even touched their team. Considering that they have a legitimate AD carry and good stuns. SO all in all, tanky Garen > AD Garen :)

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Change Log

9/26/2012 [8:04PM]:
- Added Chapter "Why not AD???"
- Updated Chapter "Items"
- Updated "Abilities~" to latest Garen changes
- Added secondary build
- Added Change Log (I know, I should have had this earlier)