Garen Build Guide

  • Views: 33,160
  • Rating: 42% ( Good )
  • Last Updated v1.0.0.103

Running Away to Screaming Demacia In 18 Easy Steps

written by Rampant Idiocy

Garen Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Welcome, my friends, to Running Away to Screaming Demacia in 18 easy steps. First things first, this is a guide about a high damage tank that relies on the controlling player being unable to control the barbaric and reckless urges that would normally get him killed as any other character or ostracized by his teammates. Of course, I am talking about Garen, the Might of Demacia.

    I first decided to play Garen when I was told by my friend that I was too reckless to play any character in the game. I had horrible games as Teemo, Yi, and especially Blitz. I was stumped until I found this guy on free rotation one week. I soon fell in love with him, and began to dominate my mid-tier matches, with scores reaching over 20 kills and zero deaths on average.

    Garen depends on his handler not knowing when to give up, and choosing to make crazy, and on occasion, self-sacrificing risks. Garen is unique among tanks that he doesn't have an "initiate" as they call taunts. His initiate depends on him putting himself at risk, spinning into the crowd of enemies.

    To play most characters, you are going to need some sort of idea on how to play them. With Garen, I say all you need is no common sense, a reasonable speed on the keyboard, and the lung capacity to scream 'DEMACIAAAAA!!!!' in the middle of the library where you are playing this game. But, if you want to read this guide, I am sure you will be helped.

  • Abilities

    Perseverence is a great passive for the beginning of the game, as it allows you to lane for long periods of time while your opponents will have to base. However, because of the seven second build-up for this skill, it won't be as useful to a reckless player. Perseverance, later stacked with Force of Nature, can allow you to get back into fights at a much quicker rate.

    Decisive Strike
    Garen's primary CC is to stop casters, or even other melee heroes, from damaging him. But that is not the important part about this skill. Sure it silences, but it also gives Garen a nice move-speed buff that allows him to finally chase down those pesky casters and finish them. It does basic attack damage plus a small amount of bonus damage which can be devestating in the early game, but tends to be neglible against other tanks late game.

    First off, the passive, which caps at an extremely low number, isn't really that useful. But then the active itself activates, and you're in business. Giving yourself 30% damage reduction on top of Garen's already insane defense (when using the following build) makes Garen slightly invunerable for a few seconds. More than enough time to speed off to safety, get ready for Pantheon's impact, or block an optimistic Yi's Highlander attacks.

    Possibly the most important move out of Garen's skill set. Judgement is one of the more powerful moves in the game when its just beginning so take advantage of that. Later on, in tactics, there will be a brief discussion on how we will use this move effectively and guarantee the Might of Damacia will gain early kills. It also is useful for getting out of troublesome situations, as it gets rid of slow effects, allowing Garen to escape the slow caress of death from Nunu or Twitch.

    Demacian Justice
    Also known by many an angry Tryndamere as the Killsteal of Demacia, this is the de facto executing moves in most team fights. Not only does it do massive damage to a single wounded opponent, it has a psychologically demoralizing effect as well. Example being....

    Garen, Teemo, and Sivir run into the middle of Summoner's rift. Somehow, Teemo's expert scouting skills have led the three into a trap. An angry Rammus, Swain, and Cassadin come out of the bush, flanking our team. Teemo immediately drops a mushroom, darts Rammus, hits him twice with his poison, and then runs harassing Swain. Sivir likewise begins to run but hits Rammus with her Boomarang and Richocet. Garen, not afraid of the onslaught (due to his massive amount of health, armor, and magic resistance) immediately goes into Judgement, weakening Rammus to 1/3 his health, and then Justices him to kill him outright. The three then clean up Swain, but the tricky Cassadin teleports away into the waiting arms of Tryndamere.

    Justice makes people flee. It's a very scary move, that can condemn any opponent to death if their health is low enough. A general rule is when you just get Justice, wait until they are down to a quarter health to use it, otherwise the low health total enemy will just get hit for some severe damage and not killing him. In the end game, you can hit enemy tanks at 1/3 health and enemy mages at 1/2 health and kill them. Very dangerous move in a good players hands

  • Masteries + Runes

    Run them however you see fit. To each his own.

  • Items

    Garen should start with one thing to allow him to get back into the action even quicker.

    Garen will start by buying Doran's Shield for the health regeneration early. This will earn you the ridicule of your team. You will get a Master Yi telling you that you do not know how to build Garen, or even worse, nobody buys Doran's items... ignore him, and remind him of his insolence once you have saved him from death a multitude of times. Also, you should pick up a health pot, just in case someone hits you for a bit more damage than you can take for the moment.

    Then you shall pick up a Boots of Speed with the immediate intent of gaining Boots of Swiftness. The boots are too allow you to gank, and to make your Judgement spin much quicker and more maneuverable. At this time, ganking the middle or sneaking around to do a flank gank on his own lane should be a priority to help him build his next few items.

    The next item that Garen is going to build is going to be a Sunfire Cape. This is the item that makes Garen his most dangerous. A Sunfire Cape makes sure that the opponent always has to have an eye out for Garen in team fights, especially when our build is done, because we are going to have three. Now, you really do want to start buying the Chain Vest if only to build some nice armor to start. After you are done with your first Sunfire, we're gonna need some magic resistance for those really aggravating casters.

    Therefore, Garen builds for the Guardian Angel. Not only this add onto our Armor, give us some nice Magic Resistance, but it also has the added buff of giving us an extra life. Normally, Guardian Angel is to prevent you from feeding anymore or to stall a losing effort. But not in Garen's case, if only because of his Sunfires. See, since Garen isn't technically dead, his Sunfires still work. And with three stacks, thats 120 damage per second to everything/one around you, waiting for you to respond.

    Next you're gonna buy another Sunfire Cape, if only to look cool.

    The most expensive part of the build is next, which is the [item=Force of Nature]. This is an all-purpose good item for Garen. It halts some more casting damage from the mages, and speeds up his ganking speed. But not only does it give a ridiculous health regeneration, it gives you that .35 percent regeneration per second. That, combined with the massive health from the Sunfires, makes Garen a true tank. Not neccessarily the best tank, but a good one.

    Sell the Doran's Shield if you haven't already, to make room for your last Sunfire Cape.

    That means you end up with
    Boots of Swiftness
    Sunfire Cape
    Guardian Angel
    Sunfire Cape
    [item=Force of Nature]
    Sunfire Cape

    I cannot stress this last part enough. This build is not an absolute blueprint. Here are two alternate setups due to enemy team set-up and your own team's set up...


    I'm crediting my friend with this one for showing me how much an all caster team can mess up a fully set Garen. In reality, if they are an all-caster team, and you aren't fed before them, you've done something wrong. Seriously wrong. But you can always recover. In this situation, we are gonna switch out two of our Sunfire Capes for some nice Null items...

    Boots of Swiftness
    Sunfire Cape
    Guardian Angel
    Banshee's Veil
    [item=Force of Nature]
    Spirit Visage

    It isn't a perfect swap, you definately lose a little bit of threat here with the loss of a guaranteed 80 damage per second. But the Visage speeds up your Force of Nature, and the Veil will stop any one stuns from Ryze or Morgana. It is to be remembered you're going to need a stronger team to pull this one off, because odds are they may just avoid you in your entirety.


    If you aren't the primary tank, or the secondary tank, and you want to play a fun little mix with your enemy, consider going Aura Garen. Yes, Aura Garen. No, I am not insane, and Aura Garen will smite you for your impertinence. It definitely depends on you staying with teamates for the maximum effect, but it can be interesting to see your foes react to a non tanky Garen.

    Boots of Swiftness
    Sunfire Cape
    Guardian Angel
    Aegis of the Legion
    [item=Stark's Fervor]
    [item=Force of Nature]

    A final note on all these builds. If you don't feel like you're putting enough damage on the table, then drop a Sunfire (God knows you can afford to) and buy yourself a Atma's Impaler. It builds off our already stacked health!

  • Skilling Order

    Quite simply the skilling order should be

    Demacian Justice ===> Judgment===> Decisive Strike===> Courage

    Don't deviate, don't go away from this. No discussion about this is neccessary. Your Welcome

  • Summoner Abilities

    Ah, Garen can benifit from a great number of Summoner Abilities. So let's go over the pros and cons of each of them, and you'll pick one to fit your playstyle.

    Revive. We really shouldn't even bother with this, but for you new players trying to learn how to be the Might of Demacia and the Champion of All That Is Good and Holy, we'll put it in simple terms.

    Every time you pick Revive, God burns down an orphanage. Its violent, I know, but its the only way He can let you know that you are playing the game wrong. If you die, there is a reason for it. Personally, I die after heroic actions that save half of my team or after I get too greedy. I learn from this. Letting a newer player who just died go back out after using Revive and feed the other team. It's a rookie mistake.

    Teleport. This isn't a bad choice for the Might, if only because it lets him start hacking and slashing a lot quicker. It also makes it easier to save turrets, something you are designed to do with your skill set. So this is an acceptable choice.

    Ghost. There are two uses for this. The first is the moment when you realize you just Judgmented into all five enemies. Here you tap Courage and Ghost, and get the Hell out of dodge. The second and more important use of Ghost with Garen is the speed gank. It will let you chase someone down, use your decisive strike, judgment them, and justice them, all before they get to their tower.

    Exhaust. Another goodie that can be used for Garen's offensive arsenal. Just imagine Exhausting a Soraka in your Judgment.... Don't let that mental image go.... In other words, good for finishing off and killing mages and weakened carries.

    Heal. Not the most amazing of summoner spells, but it can keep you up and running for the more nasty team fights. Is also a fun spell to proc, just when another weakened tank decides to focus you....

    Smite. Not generally needed by Garen, as its rare to have a true Jungle Garen (and thats an Item Set for another Guide or Version).

    Clarity. This is the worst possible spell to take as Garen. At least you can USE Revive. Clarity is just a fancy way of saying 'I am a new Garen!!! Please gang up on me and see me take you all on!'.

    Cleanse. Good to get rid of the status effects that Judgment can't, and is a nice spell to hold on to just in case.

    Ignite. This is one of my favorites. See Ignite has a higher range than any other ability that Garen has. This tends to lure them in when they have low health. Also lets you snag that guy who just gets away from dying from Judgment.

    [spell=Rally]. Eh.

    Clairvoyance. Double Eh.

    [spell=Fortify]. Lets just call these Third Tier.

    Flash. Yeah.

  • Working in the team

    In team fights, it is very important to realize that every other ally on your team is more important than you, even if you are level 18 and Teemo is level 8. This means, if any of the other team initiates, you try to be the one he initiates on, or you punish him swiftly for his choice in targets. As Garen, you want the fight to initiate on you, so you can counter-initiate with a Courage, Decisive, Judgment combo.

    In the middle and early game, Garen should try to do what is called the flank gank. The flank gank is when Garen takes the opening right next to the opponents first tower in the outside lane and hides in that grass. Then, the other lanemate draws them deeper toward your own tower, harassing the stronger one. Garen should then rush behind them and judgment, attempting to get both of them. Then Garen Ignites one of the two (or exhausts him), and goes and EXECUTES the running one. The ignited or exausted one should be finished either by the ignition or your teammate.

    Also, it is neccessary to build a good taunt for when you kill enemies in a two on one or even three on one situation. Because, as Garen, you can enter these and win. It can be a simple as 'DEMACIAAAAAA!!!!!!!' on public chat, or as complex as 'Your mother was a hamster, etc.'. Make it funny for your teammates, and enfuriating for them. You might just taunt them into making a fatal misjudgement.

  • Pros / Cons

    Now you may be asking me, 'Why would I ever want to play Garen. It seems like an idiot with a hammer could smash a keyboard and play well with him...'

    Well, Garen has quite a few advantages. He can completely stack one item and be effective (Sunfires), and he is an adaptable hero. He can fight for DPS, CC, or just Tank the enemy mob. He is not a weak character in any way, and he has one of the most effective tank killing attacks in the game. His Judgment can disperse an entire enemy team, and he can be the focus of five competent players and still not die.

    However, players that aren't willing to take risks aren't going to do well as Garen. Garen runs off the 1 1 paradigm, where, if he dies, but so does the opponent, its a victory for Garen. Garen tower dives for fun, and usually survives unless there is a nasty binding surprise. Garen goes for first blood every game. Not because Garen depends on the money... No. See playing Garen is all about instilling fear into the opponent at the beginning of the game. If you can do that, you can run a 20|0|20 line. If not, you might be stuck in the low positives.

  • Unique Skills

    Judgment is one of the most important skills, so here is how to use it, and the situations it is acceptable in.

    1) Taking on an enemy one on one. In this situation, all you have to do is stay on them with the judgement to force them to accept the full brunt of the attack. If you do this, they will probably be at a low enough health to Decisive Strike and the Justice.

    2) To Initiate. Here, we are trying to start a 5v5 match, and we're going to jump into their entire group using our spin. First we'll use courage for the damage reduction, and then we go hog wild with the spin. Then, if your team followed you, pick on the weakest or hit the guy who is hitting yours.

    3) To Facecheck Bush. Stand at end of bush, then spin inside. Make sure you got the entire thing, a missed spot is a Twitch waiting for you to stop spinning.

    4) To Clear a 3v1 or 2v1. Focus on the one running the fastest or with the lowest health. Remember, we can run off a 1 1 paradigm, and we want that one kill. Then hit the next weakest, and then the next weakest. Or tank tackle. Which ever seems like it'll be more fun.

  • Summary

    In summary, Garen isn't a hero for the faint of heart. He isn't about to be the character that every newbie should end up picking up because he is easy to play. He is the character you give to the quiet kid that has homicidal tendencies, he is the character that any reckless beserker wants to be. He isn't limited by mana or energy. He's managed by time. And he has more on his clock then you do. Be scared.

    When you, playing your caster, walk by a bush and hear, DEMACIAAAAAA... Those are the last words you're going to hear...



    TC Mizak

    P.S: If you decide to vote for my guide, thats great. If you hate my guide, and by the transitive property, my guts, go ahead and vote too, but tell me what I can do to improve it. Maybe we can have a discussion, and my guide can get better.

  • Thanks To

    My friends Adrenilin3rush, Sstriker, Dregfur, Ying Quilang, and DaedelusIcarus. Also my cousin, tagged Nathanial, got me into the game with Ying, so I thank him for that.

Do you have your own
Build Guide?

Submitted by Rampant Idiocy

Newest Guides for Garen

Top Guides for Garen

New Skins for Garen

Top Skins for Garen