Garen Build Guide

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SPIN2WIN still works! (DPS/Off-Tank Garen)

written by iPhi

Garen Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    This is my first real guide on LeagueCraft, so please spare me. :P

    I'll do my best to update the guide and I hope to hear some constructive criticism and ideas for improvement. Justified opinions are welcome! :D

    Take your time and enjoy reading! :)
    Comment and rate please!

  • Abilities

    One of the best innates (in my opinion) that enables Garen to stay in a lane forever.

    How to make the best of it?
    - Stand just far enough from your minions, that the enemy can't reach you, but you still get EXP from minions when you're waiting for Preservance to start working,
    - Don't attack when waiting - it won't activate itself if you attack during the 7 seconds (even if you don't take damage),
    - When you try to gank a lane and you end up with low hp, you can walk back to your lane and you'll get there with almost full HP (don't do this if enemies are M.I.A. - Missing in Action),
    - You need to learn how to avoid skillshots; it will greatly improve benefits that Preservance can offer,

    Decisive Strike
    Speed buff + decent damage + (a quite long) silence. Nuff' said, great stuff.

    How to make the best of it?
    - Harass with it (many people will run away when they see a Garen charging against them),
    - Silence mages/supporters in teamfights,
    - Cast it on a Shaco/Ezreal/Kassadin so that they can't port away to run,
    - If you don't need it for none of the above, use it to farm minions (easy last-hit),

    Useful for all those Karthus ults, or just to survive better in teamfights.

    How to make the best of it?
    - Activate it when you spin into battle,
    - Activate it when you're running away (and you know you'll get caught),
    - Activate it when you're about to get hit by a skillshot, Karthus/Nunu/Pantheon ultimate...
    - Try not to waste it, because the cooldown time is just LONG,


    How to make the best of it?
    - If you're slowed and you activate this, the slow won't affect you anymore,
    - Try to get your opponent(s) as close to you as possible, so that you can keep up with them and they take full damage,
    - Use this to farm (bigger) minion waves,
    - In teamfights first silence, then spin on top of everyone and see their HP bars drop :D

    Demacian Justice

    How to make the best of it?
    - Great for executing those last hits (on champions, of course),
    - Read the description well and think about how it works to use it properly; try to cast it on someone who has low HP - the damage adds up with every point of HP missing on the target,
    - DO NOT use it on Poppy (in 90% of cases) - Valiant Fighter will reduce the damage drastically and she will probably get away with 3 HP left >.<
    (Another reason to bring Ignite *evil laugh*)

  • Pros / Cons


    + No costs on abilities
    + SPIN2WIN :D
    + Great passive for laning
    + Decently long Silence with a decent Cooldown Time
    + DEMACIA!!1!eleven!!1
    + Does great damage in early/mid game


    - A long-ranged harasser can screw your laning (you mustn't take DMG for passive HP regen. boost)
    - Huge cooldown on Courage
    - Stuns/snares screw your SPIN2WIN
    - Lacks some DMG output in late(ish) game if not fed - needs to deal enough DMG for enemies to focus him and this is sometimes hard

  • Summary (TL;DR)


    - 13/16/1 (when using Ghost)
    - 15/15/0


    3x Greater Quintessence of Fortitude// Greater Quintessence of Vitality
    9x Greater Glyph of Celerity// Greater Glyph of Focus or Greater Glyph of Shielding// Greater Glyph of Warding
    9x Greater Seal of Defense// Greater Seal of Resilience
    9x Greater Mark of Desolation

    Summoner Abilities:

    Exhaust + Ghost// Ignite
    Viable options are Flash, [spell=Fortify]**, Cleanse**

    ** = with mastery point


    Start with (either):
    - Doran's Shield
    - Boots of Speed + Health Potionx3
    Next up is:
    - The Brutalizer
    Followed by (either):
    - Chain Vest
    - Negatron Cloak
    - Negatron Cloak+ Chain Vest OR Giant's Belt+ Regrowth Pendant
    Then you upgrade boots to:
    - Ionian Boots of Lucidity
    - Boots of Swiftness
    - Ninja Tabi
    - Mercury's Treads

    Finished core example:

    After that build either:
    - Last Whisper
    - Youmuu's Ghostblade
    - Atma's Impaler
    - Aegis of the Legion
    - Randuin's Omen
    - Guardian Angel
    - Banshee's Veil
    - Warmog's Armor

  • Updates section

    - 9th April, 2011: Guide published. Hooray!
    - 9th April, 2011: 1st (minor) update - more to come soon.
    - 10th April, 2011: Added "Summary (TL;DR)", "Laning Partners", "Worst Enemies" and some Ability Descriptions.
    - 26th April, 2011: Patches and bring no (noticable) changes to Garen's gameplay.

  • Masteries + Runes


    There are more options depending on which summoner spells you want to use and whether you want to be more tanky or deal more damage.
    I normally use the first or second (links).

    - 13/16/1
    - 15/15/0
    - standard 9/21/0 or 21/9/0


    Best options are tank runes (armor, magic resistance, HP), cooldown reduction and armor penetration.

    The following would be, in my opinion one of the best rune setups:
    3x Greater Quintessence of Fortitude// Greater Quintessence of Vitality
    9x Greater Glyph of Celerity// Greater Glyph of Focus or Greater Glyph of Shielding// Greater Glyph of Warding
    9x Greater Seal of Defense// Greater Seal of Resilience
    9x Greater Mark of Desolation

    Skilling Order:

    When you have problems you can take a point or two in Courage earlier, but after you lvl up Judgment.

  • Summoner Abilities

    There are several good choices when playing as Garen;

    I ALWAYS take Exhaust, since Garen has no slows/stuns/snares. Also with the mastery point in the improvement, you get a MR/Armor debuff on your target.

    My second choices would be:
    - Ghost: use it to chase, flee, return to lane faster, or to run in for that last hit with Demacian Justice
    - Ignite: combined with the rest of your arsenal it will assure the kill, or just shut down that nasty healer

    Viable, but not just as good as those mentioned above:
    - Flash: an alternative for Ghost-haters
    - [spell=Fortify]: more of a tank's thing, but I could see it useful - especially if nobody else can take it
    - Cleanse: kinda useful if you get CCed while towerdiving :P (make sure to get the mastery point if you use Cleanse)

    Choices that might look good, but are actually not:
    - Teleport: You're fast and you have a speed buff on your Q (+ Ghost optionally)
    If you're worried about going back to your lane too slow, you might aswell bring [spell_text=Fortify]. You don't need to go back often (sometimes I lvl up to 10-12 without going back at all) and when you DO go back to base, I don't think your tower will suddenly get pushed. For later tower-saving [spell_text=Fortify] is a lot better.
    - Heal: Maybe you could use it for juking, but overall it's not worth it. It's just too useless in later game.

  • Skilling order

    This is my most used setup. It's all pretty straight-forward; R > E > Q > W

    If you're having trouble, you could put a point or two in Courage earlier - after you lvl up Judgment.

  • Items

    I tend to make try to get the most out of my innate so I normally start out with:

    - Boots of Speed and Health Potionx3 (take these if you'll need to dodge skillshots)
    - Doran's Shield (take this if you see that they have a lot of harassers that could screw your innate healing)

    Try to stay in your lane until you have ~1400 gold to buy The Brutalizer (LOL 1337 item).
    After you have that, nobody will have the guts to stay near you when you cast Judgment.
    It also gives you 10% CDR...

    Next up is some things to make you survive better:

    - Problems with a DPSer -> Chain Vest
    - Problems with a nuker/mage - > Negatron Cloak
    - Problems with both -> Negatron Cloak+ Chain Vest OR Giant's Belt+ Regrowth Pendant
    - No problems/you're pwning everyone -> upgrade boots

    Viable boot choices:
    -Best are Ionian Boots of Lucidity (I normally take these to max out CDR) and Boots of Swiftness
    -Good are Ninja Tabi and Mercury's Treads.

    This is what my finished core build normally looks like:

    Many games finish before I get to buy all of it, so buy what you need. Even if you think Sunfire Cape is epic on Garen, don't build it if the enemies only have mages.

    Note: Boots are of choice, the above core build costs ~7,5k gold.

    DPS item choices:
    Garen-teed succes: Last Whisper - GREATLY improves your SPIN2WIN potential, especially in late game
    Other good choices:
    - Youmuu's Ghostblade - great stats + ACTIVE for more pushing power (you can't judgment on towers and your base AS is low as crap)
    - Atma's Impaler - later in-game when you have loads of HP

    Tanking item choices:
    Garen-teed succes: Sunfire Cape + [item=Force of Nature]
    Other good choices:
    - Warmog's Armor - HP + HP regen
    - Randuin's Omen - imba slow + armor + HP
    If you want to build Frozen Mallet build an Omen instead! It's cheaper and offers MUCH better stats for its price!
    - Aegis of the Legion - aura defensive buff (build if nobody else does)
    - Guardian Angel - 2 lives, period
    - Banshee's Veil - yes, the mana is a waste, but if you have an annoying nuker it will help you get to him to cast that much needed silence

  • The Game

    WARNING: this next paragraph is quite a huge wall of text. If you decide to read through it I hope you find some good information inside.

    Which lane? (early game)
    Garen does well in 2v2 lane or solo lane (when one of the team is in the jungle).

    When laning with a teammate, try to get yourself someone that can preferably stun/snare, or at least slow down enemies. Try to be annoying, run into enemies and try to silence them, or just DEMACIA!!! out of the bush into them.
    I play similar when I'm 1v1, but make sure you don't push too hard, because if an Udyr runs at you and slams your face with a stun (*your silence won't cancel Udyr's stuns) and the enemy Irelia (example :P) dashes to you they can eat you alive before you can say "DEMACIA!". Actually you should try to keep minions close to your tower without them attacking it.
    Basically: harras, go in the brush to heal, rinse and repeat.

    When you're alone against 2 enemies, you shouldn't try to be as annoying as in a 2v2 lane, because if you get focused by 2, you're pretty much dead (same situation as with the enemy jungler gank).
    When alone, I normally play passively, standing under my own tower, spinning through minions and last-hitting them when they come close.
    When I get lvl 6 I try sometimes try to finish off that squishy that isn't paying attention to his HP and doesn't expect the poor Garen to attack at all. 70% chance of success here; add your jungler and the double kill is in 80% of times yours. :D

    DEMACIA!!11!one! (mid game)
    Mid game, when the ganks are at their peak I sometimes try to roam around to other lanes and SPIN-backdoor-from-the-bush-2-WIN. :P
    I do this when (for example) the enemy tower on my lane is already destroyed, or when I'm in 2v2 lane and my teammate can defend it alone. Also when you're 5/0/3.

    Some quick notes on jungling:
    I never get ANY buffs, except for Baron's. You don't need the Golem's buff, since you will have around 35% CDR and you don't use any resources (mana/energy). You don't need Lizard either, since you almost never autoattack enemies; leave it for those AD carries. ;)
    The only thing I do in jungle is I sometimes kill Wolves, Wraiths or Small Golems for a bit extra EXP/gold.

    PENTAKILL. (late game)
    Late game, try to stick with your team (especially if you have an Aegis of the Legion). In teamfights do your best to silence that mage.
    PLEASE, for the love of God, don't silence a random enemy, or even worse, a pure auto-attacker, someone like Yi or Ashe.
    I hope I made myself clear enough. :D

    Basically, silence the mage/supporter (if it's a good one), then SPIN, activate Youmuu's if possible and get on top of their carry. :D
    When someone (preferably their carry) is low on HP, bring the Demacian Justice upon them!
    Make sure you ult them when they have about 30% HP left.

    If you see a Poppy getting away, NEVER EVER EVAR use your ultimate to try and finish her off. If she has about 20% HP, she will survive due to her innate; Valiant Fighter.

  • Lane partners

    Garen loves to lane with anyone who has a reliable stun/slow/snare; this way your enemies will witness the full wrath of Judgment. :D

    External Image Alistar, The Minotaur:
    Garen paired with The Minotaur is a force to be reckoned with. The combo of Decisive Strike -> Pulverize (+ Headbutt) -> Judgment = DEATH ITSELF.
    Also Perseverance AND Triumphant Roar makes you stay in that lane litterally forever.

    External Image Blitzcrank, The Great Steam Golem:
    His Rocket Grab and Power Fist combined with Decisive Strike and Judgment will tear most champions in pieces. His ultimate also silences and this gives you a double silence after lvl 6; combined they last for 5 seconds! :D

    External Image Lux, The Lady of Luminosity:
    YOUR SISTER(!!!) has quite an arsenal that is useful (to Garen) for 2 things; firstly - her (double) snare on Light Binding and slow on Lucent Singularity will make you "DEMACIA!!" even more and secondly - her abilities have range OVER 9000! and she can make enemies stay well away from you when you're trying to activate Perseverance. Lux also has a shield ( Prismatic Barrier. GG.

    External Image Morgana, The Fallen Angel:
    Another lady with a great snare ( Dark Binding), a spellshield ( Black Shield) and a slow + stun ultimate ( Soul Shackles). Combine those with your stuff and they will run for their lives... wait, they can't run! >:D

    External Image Nasus, The Curator of the Sands:
    Wither. This slow is so good that it's almost a stun! If combined with Spirit Fire (that lowers armor) and your physical-damaging-spells, they will be afraid of you. Not much more to say. :D

    External Image Rammus, The Armodillo:
    Powerball + Puncturing Taunt = ENDLESS CC! No, rly, Rammus is great.

    External Image Ryze, The Rogue Mage:
    Ranged point-and-click snare: Rune Prison.

    External Image Sion, The Undead Champion:
    Garen loves him and his [spell=Cryptic Gaze]. There really isn't much to say; he stuns, mow them down. :D
    Also, if that Sion is played the DPS/crit way, his [spell=Cannibalism] will heal you for even moar staying power!

    External Image Taric, The Gem Knight:
    The Gay- uhm, Gem Knight has a nice point-and-click stun with imba duration ( Dazzle) and can alos heal you (and himself)!

    External Image Veigar, The Tiny Master of Evil:
    He WILL steal ALL minion last hits, but on the other hand you'll thank him when he traps those enemies within Event Horizon. Your "nukes" combined with his make the universe tremble!

    There are outher potentially great lane-partners for Garen, but I think you get the point.

    If you want me to add someone, please make a request in the comments section and I'll do my best to add him/her. :)

  • Worst enemies

    If you have to lane against someone that can harass you from a big range, you will have a lot of problems with your staying power.

    When you can't get a lot out of Perseverance you should buy a Regrowth Pendant on your first trip back.

    The "Difficulty" is based on the fact that the enemies know what they're doing. The scale is from 1 to 10; 1 being easiest and 10 hardest.

    External Image Ashe, The Frost Archer:
    Difficulty: 7/10
    Her Volley is the definition of annoying and is quite hard to avoid and she also has a long range on her autoattacks. The permaslow from Frost Shot makes it hard to get to her and you can't surprise her from the bush, besause of Hawkshot.
    My suggestion is to play passively, when against her and wait until SHE makes the (fatal) mistake. ;)

    External Image Caitlyn, The Sheriff of Piltover:
    Difficulty: 8/10
    Very Similar to Ashe; a long-ranged skillshot ( Piltover Peacemaker), epic range on auto-attacks and always a Yordle Snap Trap in the bush. >.<
    Same tip for her; patience is the key to success. :)

    External Image Corki, The Daring Bombardier:
    Difficulty: 2/10 (pre-6) and 7/10 (post-6)
    Pre-lvl-6 he isn't much of a threat. Post-lvl-6, when he gets Missile Barrage, laning against him becomes a living hell for Garen. MISSILES EVERY-FUC*ING-WHERE!
    Tip: Get boots of swiftness and don't fight him when he Valkyries on you and points the Gatling Gun at you. He's surprisingly powerful, due to the armor reduction. Try to surprise him and silence him, so he can't combo on you.

    External Image Ezreal, The Prodigal Explorer:
    Difficulty: 8 or 9/10
    Fuc*ing flashes all the time and skillshots flying everywhere! >.<
    Tip: Get boots A.S.A.P. and (same as for Corki) try to silence him so he can't blink away and/or combo on you. ;)

    External Image Gragas, The Rabble Rouser:
    Difficulty: 9/10
    "Oh, look it's a barr-" *BOOM* There goes Perseverance... again...
    Try to avoid barrels as much as possible. Some Gragases will try to farm with Barrel Roll, but if you meet one that can also harass well with barrels then you need boots and good reflexes. :)
    Also be careful when he hits 6 and gets Explosive Cask. Don't over-extend and get yourself knocked under that tower. :D

    External Image Karthus, The Deathsinger:
    Difficulty: 8/10
    His Lay Waste is somewhat hard to dodge, but it becomes a lot easier after you get your boots done. The problem is that he's nearly un-gankable to any melee (including you), since not many champions can stay for a long time inside his Defile.
    Tips: Avoid those yellow bubbles on the ground and try to SMACK him in the face - silence him, before he can turn on his circle of death. :)

    External Image Kassadin, The Void Walker:
    Difficulty: 5/10 (pre-6) and 7/10 (post-6)
    Pre 6 he can mostly just harass with his Null Sphere and it's ranged, so your silence can't compete with his. Post 6, after he gets Riftwalk he'll try to teleport in your face and then you can try to silence him first... it's like a western gun-fight. :D
    He isn't really dangerous normally, but don't get him fed - you will regret it!

    External Image Kog'Maw, The Mouth of The Abyss:
    Difficulty: 6/10 (pre-6) and 9 or 10/10 (post-6)
    For the first 6 lvls you only need to be careful about his Void Ooze and range-buff from Bio-Arcane Barrage. It's not a big deal, but when he lvls up Living Artillery you need to CONSTANTLY stay on your toes. That thing hits a mile away. If he gets a Tear of the Goddess, you are pretty much screwed. xD
    Tips: Boots A.S.A.P. and, again, silence when possible. Careful with his innate too ( Icathian Surprise).

    External Image Lux, The Lady of Luminosity:
    Difficulty: 9/10
    Ironically, your sister is one of your worst enemies too.
    When you push minions to her tower you need to go back to yours so you don't get harassed!
    Even with boots it's really hard to dodge all those Lucent Singularity-ies flying around you.
    Do your best avoiding those and be careful when towerdiving, since she can just Light Binding-you and GTFO.

    External Image Nidalee, The Bestial Huntress:
    Difficulty: 7/10
    Not much to say here, but to avoid [spell=Javelin Toss] (don't run AWAY from it - more range->more DMG, run to the sides).
    Also mind that she has her [spell=Primal Surge] that takes care of her staying power AND [spell=Bushwhack] that disables you to "DEMACIAAA!" from that bush.
    Tip: Get some m.res. (especially post-6) since she can dish out quite some DMG throughout mid-game.
    Make sure to cast Courage when she leaps into your face.

    External Image Nocturne, The Eternal Nightmare:
    Difficulty: 7 or 8/10
    Nocturne's Duskbringer screws up your Perseverance and deals decent DMG. Do your best to avoid it. Also, when fighting him, make sure you silence him before he casts his Unspeakable Horror as it will fear you and you'll spin around like crazy. :D

    External Image Olaf, The Berserker:
    Difficulty: 7/10
    Avoid Undertow and mind that his ultimate - Ragnarok makes him immune to disables (including silences).

    External Image Teemo, The Swift Scout:
    Difficulty: 7/10 (pre-6) and 8/10 (post-6)
    Careful with his Camouflage and Toxic Shot. The following might not hurt you a lot, but it will delay your Perseverance for 4 seconds.
    Also, watch your step when he hits 6 and gets Noxious Trap.

    External Image Twisted Fate, The Card Master:
    Difficulty: 6 or 7/10
    Not much of a threat here, just mentioning him, because his Wild Cards have quite a range and his stun on Pick A Card might be a bit of a pain in the butt. :)
    If you see him using Destiny you should try to silence him ASAP!
    If you're the target and you see that teleport animation near you hit Courage.

    External Image Twitch, The Plague Rat:
    Difficulty: 7 or 8/10
    His Deadly Venom lasts a whopping 6 seconds and a good Twitch player will know that this almost doubles the activation time for Perseverance.
    If he gets (too) close to you early, you should try to take him out, since Twitches are normally extremely squishy - especially early in the game.

    External Image Udyr, The Animal Spirit:
    Difficulty: 10/10 (when fighting), 4/10 (when laning against - althought he shouldn't really be laning :P)
    Udyr is difficult to play against, since his stun effect from Bear Stance isn't affected by silences. If I see a (fed) Udyr running at me I just turn around and GTFO.
    He can't harass you really, but this stun makes him impossible to 1v1 against.

    External Image Zilean, The Chronokeeper:
    Difficulty: 9 or 10/10
    2 words: Time Bomb. Hurts like hell, can't be avoided once it's on your head, you can shield some DMG with Courage, but it doesn't help much.
    Your best bets would be to either play extremely passively, OR to run into his face and smack him with that silence and SPIN2WIN + Ignite + Demacian Justice... maybe he won't revive. -_-
    Tip: Really, just get some magic resistance.

    If you want me to add someone, please make a request in the comments section and I'll do my best to add him/her. :)

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